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The following numbers were written in reply 
to a review of Capt. Symmes' Theory, which ap- 
peared in the American Quarterly ; and were first 
published in the National Intelligencer. In look- 
ing over them, the reader will find the fir3t de- 
voted to a physical view of the Theory, and, 
without entering into any detail, some general 
analogies of the solar system were urged in favor 
of the doctrine. It was intended to shew that it 
was a pleasing and rational inquiry ; but not so 
clear and well defined, as, in any degree, to jus- 
tify an expedition, predicated upon it. Accord- 
ingly, in the second number, it has been urged, 
that the Quarterly might possibly have been in 
error, in supposing the polar seas encumbered 
with perpetual ice ; and that, independent of all 
speculation, the field for inquiry and scientific 
research was immense in the remote polar re- 
gions ; and in the third and last number, it will 
be clearly seen, that every movement in relation 
to the expedition has been on those broad and li- 
beral principles, which have always marked simi- 
lar exertions by the citizens of other countries. 


To the Editor of the American Quarterly Review .♦ 

Sib : In looking- over the first number of your very 
able and interesting 1 Review, I perceived some twenty 
or thirty pages devoted to an examination of the princi- 
ples of Captain Symmes' Theory, as written by a " Ci- 
tizen of the United States." In the most part, T shall 
leave it for the author to manage his own controversy 
with you, in time and manner, as it shall suit his own 
convenience : he may resist your deductions, or ac- 
quiesce in the correctness of your conclusions. 

But, as doctrines, from the fact of being long receiv- 
ed, acquire a greater degree of credit, and, as new opi- 
nions contrary to these, and in other respects, perhaps, 
extraordinary in themselves, meet, from these causes, 
not only slow and difficult belief, but even with a very 
partial examination, I trust it will not be deemed impro- 
per in roe, briefly to write a review of your review, I feel 
myself called on tofdo so, not from any wish tenaciously 
to maintain an abstract theory, but because you have 
blended the exertions now making to get up an expedi- 
tion, with what you call *' visionary speculations." I 
intend to separate them — or rather to show that they 
have not been united — by, in the first place, treating 
of the Theory, and in the second place, of the expedi- 
tion, and the principles upon which it is placed. For 
the sake of originality, (in common with the Edinburgh 
and London Quarterly) you commence by giving, a pret- 
ty general review of all the past theories and specula- 
tions on the subject, upon which you are about to 
write. Of Burnet, forming the earth from oil, and other 
matter ; of Woodward, and his doctrine of gravity af- 
ter the flood ; of Whiston, and his comet system ; of 
the theories of HalUr and Euler. You pay a passing 
compliment to Buffbn, who regards the earth as a part 
of the sun, knocked off by some wandering comet ; and 
tlius, from the ease with which you handle and explode 

old and long exploded systems, convince every reader^ 
long before you arrive at the '* New Theory/* how 
admirably you are qualified to treat it. 

You appear to consider all these theorists by far out- 
done by Capt. Symmes, though you admit and say, the 
doctrine of concentric spheres "has been one of the 
oldest in geology.*' How can it surpassthera if it be the 
same ? 

Inquiries concerning the figure of the earth we in- 
habit, are among the noblest speculations of the human 
mind. They enlarge our views, and frequently bring 
remote parts of the earth into a knowledge and inter- 
change with each other. Indeed, the learned world has 
seldom been the loser ; and you must in candor admit, 
it has frequently been the gainer, by those short con- 
flicts carried on between inventive genius and the adhe- 
rents to old systems. 

By collision of the flint and steel, the spark is eli- 
cited. I readily own, we should not lend a too credu- 
lous ear to^ every novelty that may arise in this age, 
" prolific in improvement and discovery ;" and that 
systems long established, and founded on experiments, 
and sanctioned by the wise and learned, for ages, de- 
serve our confidence, and should not be yielded, until 
new ones are demonstrated to be true. On the other 
hand, we have something, also, to apprehend. We 
cling with instinctive feeling to our early impressions. 
We doubt all systems and tenets but our own, and seem, 
not unfrequently, to forget, that the doctrines of which 
we are so very tenacious, when first given to the 
world, were pronounced by learned reviewers, to be the 
splendid visions of madmen, and in their usual facility 
at demonstration, were proven to be "impossible." 
However proud we may feel of our boasted improve- 
ments and discoveries, I apprehend you will readily 
admit there is much to be learned; that there are still 
within the mightybosom of the universe,many unexplain- 
ed phenomena, that may shed light upon our systems 
of philosophy. There is nothing in human science and 
industry, fixed and certain, except those calculations, 
founded exclusively on numbers ; and as long as the 
human mind, invincible in its pursuit after knowledge, 
is constantly acquiring new materials, and making new 
developments, old systems must be enlarged and im- 
proved, or give place to new ones. We have scarcely 
entered XheVestibule of Nature's greatTemple— though, 
from your remarks, one would be led to suppose every 

thing fixed, and, especially, that the figure of the earth 
was so strictly defined, that, even to propose a further 
inquiry, is to deserve the name of" visionary." 

To this I must beg leave to enter my caveat. I trust 
I shall do it courteously, and, fearful as the odds are 
against me, attempt to reason with you. Not by sarcasm: 
for that is not reasoning— nor by witticism : for it is not 
the best method to arrive at truth, in the investigation 
of any subject. 

That the earth is composed of five spheres, concen- 
tric with each other, and each sphere supplied with a 
"mid plain space," and that the water extends quite 
through the sphere, in some places, are points I shall 
not defend. I have never defended them. Your views 
of the Magellanic clouds are in strict accordance with 
my own. That they are nebulae belonging to theHeavens, 
and revolve, will scarcely admit of a doubt. In addition 
to your authority, I have seen an intelligent officer, who 
saw them in their regular positions, at a time, when his 
vessel was anchored at New Zealand. If this be a fact, 
New Zealand cannot form one of them. But notwith- 
standing these concessions, 1 must still maintain, as a 
matter of pleasing speculation, if you please, that the 
earth we live on, may be a hollow sphere, and widely 
open at the poles. 

And paradoxical as it may appear, that such a state 
of things is reconcileable with the admeasurements of the 
earth, with the voyages performed, and more especially 
when really understood, is not at variance with the great 
principles laid down by Newton, and received by the 
learned world. That the theory is sustained by some 
strong and powerful analogies of the other planets, I 
trust will be clearly seen, though you dispose of them, 
without the least trouble. 

1 would merely remark, in transitu, that you have not 
been remarkable for fairness, in your examination of the 
third chapter, where the author institutes an inquiry 
into the principles and properties of matter, of the cen- 
trifugal and centripetal forces. The insulated paragraph 
you quote gives no very correct view of the premises 
he assumed, and of course, you get greatly the better of 
him in argument. 

Such statements could not be intended, on your part, 
and oug!*t to be excused by the author, as it is the first 
quarterly you ever wrote. On this point, however, I feel 
no tenacity, though I do believe there can be some good 
reasons urged in favor of the doctrine, that, if the earth 


was ever in so yielding* and pliant a state, as to take its 
form from motion, the result would be a hollow sphere. 
So little s known of the principles inherent in matter, 
that such inquiries are attended, at every step, by in- 
surmountable difficulties. Hi nee it is, that speculations 
about the original formation of the earth, have always 
been various, contradictory, and discordant to each 
other. To study them is to distrust them. In such re- 
veries, we leave the field of true philosophy, and roam 
at large, in the regions of fancy and of vague conjec- 
ture. We have not data upon which to build ; nothing 1 
with which to compare ; we are off" our moorings, lost in 
the unfathomable depths of infinity, without anchor to 
sustain, compass or landmark to guide our course and to 
enlighten our researches. 

Man may, with great precision, measure the disk of 
the sun, calculate the force of gravity on the most dis- 
tant orb, mark the bold planet in bis course, and unfold 
the laws that govern him. In the field of experimental 
philosophy he may snatch the lightning from the clouds, 
and yet, as a child, he must acknowledge his ignorance 
of the original process by which the earth was formed, 
of the movings of that mighty power, who spake and it 
sprang into existence. 

To account for every thing, is attempting too much, 
either by the old or new Theory. It is almost assuming 
the dangerous ground, that matter may, by its own en- 
ergies, spring into systems — the very idea of which is 
not only unphilosopfoical, but irreverent and absurd; 
yet, I think I shall be able to show that, to some such 
speculation, you are indebted for the premises, in part, 
from which you demonstrate, that the earth is solid 
with an increased density at the centre. 

The question, however, between us is of a very dif- 
ferent kind. What is the form of the earth ? Not how it 
was formed. If its figure has been determined, to Ma- 
thematical exactness, all further inquiry is worse than 
useless. This then, is properly the point first to be ex- 

In approaching this inquiry, you state " that the fact 
of the earth's having a globular form, is strong evidence 
that it must once have been composed of fluid, or at 
least of piastre materials, F< om this position it becomes a 
problem nrmechanics, thathasbeen frequently solved by 
Mathematicians, and all prove from it the earth is solid." 

Again, you say, "the figure of the earth has been de- 
termined, not only on the hypothesis of its being homo- 

geneous, but on the more probable supposition of the in* 
crease in the density of the strata ; as e descend below 
the surface. In every case the earth must be a solid 

If from the hypothesis, or more probable supposition, 
these things must be so, then there is no room for 
further inquiry. The hypothesis and supposition decide 
the point in controversy. Yet, I unhesitatingly believe, 
you dare not venture your reputation as a philosopher 
to the world, in argument, in favor of the supposition, or 
the hypothesis of the earth's homogenity, csince every 
fact, as fctr as the eye of observation has extended, with 
any degree of accuracy, proves to the contrary. That 
it was ence in a fluid state, may, for aught 1 know, be a 
rational hypothesis; but surelv you were not in earnest 
when you supposed it "entered as an element in the 
calculation. " I say nothing about the probabilities of 
»uch conjectures, but must believe that demonstrations 
from such premises will be regarded by Mathematicians 
as the •' baseless fabric of a vision." 

Archimedes said, give him a place to rest his lever, 
and he could move the earth. So, give you premises, 
and you can demonstrate any thing: not only that the 
earth is solid, but, with Homer, that it rtstfd on pillars, 
guarded by Atlas, or, with the worshippers of Bramah, ' 
that it rested on the back of some huge elephants* 
There is nothing so easy as demonstration ! 

Seemingly aware of the objections which, in truth, 
may be urged against your premises, you proceed 
with other inquiries, deemed less objectionable, viz. 
the collateral support of these positions, from the differ- 
ent measurements on the surface of the earth. 

Let us examine them. Newton ascertained, by in- 
vestigating the principles and properties of matter, that 
■the earth is flattened at the poles. 

The French philosophers, the principal of whom was 
Cassini and his colleague Bunioulli of Switzerland, 
doubted his conclusions, and still maintained that the 
polar diameter of the earth was the greater. By the 
order of the King of France, these cui.flicting opinions 
were decided by nc'uitl measurement. 

In the year 1735, Condamine, Godin and Bougnier, 
all able mathematicians, proceeded to the South, and 
measured the length of a degree, in Quito, near the 
Equator. A degree having already been measured at 
45° North latitude, Maupertius, Clairauldt, and Morier 
proceeded to take similar measurements near the Arctic 


Circle. As a general result, the labors of these gentle- 
men confirmed the views of Newton ; though I do not 
think you will maintain that they were attended with 
the degree of regularity that might have been expected; 
nay, that would really be required by the "hypothesis 
of the earth's being homogeneous, or from the more 
probable supposition of the increased density of the 
strata, as we descend beneath the surface." Neither 
will you maintain that the past, as well as recent, at- 
tempts to ascertain the real figure of the earth, by actu- 
al measurement, have been attended with the success 
that might be expected from such Theories; especially 
when we take into consideration, the exquisite con- 
struction of the instruments, made for the purpose, the 
intelligence evinced in the use of them, and the scru- 
pulous accuracy, with which these observations have 
been computed. 

The eight admeasurements taken in England, during 
the survey of that Kingdom, under the direction of Col. 
Mudge, has produced a result different, nay, opposite 
to all former trials, and directly in the teeth of your 
favorite hypothesis. In these measurements, made with 
the most costly instruments, and under the direction of 
the most able mathematicians, the degree was found to 
decrease as the observer approached the North. You 
know the ablest mathematicians admit, the measure- 
ments have not followed a regular and constant pro- 
gression, that no meridian can be a regular ellipsis ; 
and that we have every reason to believe the earth 
itself is not a solid of revolution, yea, in the words 
of La Place, " that the two hemispheres are not of 
the same size" This singular result, says Malte Brun, 
in his physical writings, "seems to prove, decidedly, 
that the spheroidical figure of the earth is subject to ir- 
regularities, which can only be determined by multipli. 
ed measurements." Sufficiently for all practical pur- 
poses the earth is globular. But, before we say too 
much about demonstrations, and evince too much tena- 
city about our knowledge of it, small as it is, we ought 
to measure, at least, a degree on twelve meridians 
North and South of the Equator, and twelve places on 
each meridian, making in all 288 places of observation, 
whereas, in point of fact, not fifty places have yet been 
measured, some of them very imperfectly, and otheia 
disagreeing in the general result. There is, perhaps, 
much truth in the condensed remarks of Keith, who 
concludes a very interesting article on the globes, in the 


following- words: " Notwithstanding all the admeasure- 
ments that have hitherto been made, it has never been 
ascertained, in a satisfactory manner, that the Earth is 
strictly a spheroid : indeed, from observations made 
in different parts of the earth, it appears that its figure 
is by no means, that of a spheroid ; nor that of any 
other known regular mathematical figure ; and the only 
certain conclusion that can be drawn, from the works 
of the several gentlemen employed to measure the 
earth, is, that the earth is something more flat, at the 
poles, than at the equator." With you the case is very 
different ; every thing is fixed and determined, as con- 
clusively as demonstration can make it, and wo betide 
the luckless fellow, who shall propose a further inquiry. 
Your familiar and ready recollection, on all matters of 
this kind, will at once bring to your mind, that what I 
have here stated, is confirmed in Newton's Principia, 
Book 3d, page 240, c. Phil. Trans. No. 386. Mauper- 
tius' Measures of the Earth, with a compend of all these 
authorities, in Rees' Encyclopaedia, article Degree. 

But granting you all you ask, from the experiments 
on the pendulum, and what do they prove i Examine 
the various and extensive labors of Sabine, and you will 
find, only, as a general result, that the pendulum must 
be shortened, in going from the North towards the 
equator, according to the increased centrifugal force, 
and the consequent diminution of gravity. In a word, 
they prove the force of gravity on the surface of the 
earth, but do not at all determine, nor begin to deter- 
mine, that that attraction is the result of four thousand 
miles of matter, or, that it may not be the effect of a 
sphere of one thousand miles in thickness. 

Say the length of a pendulum suited to beat seconds 
at the equator was 39 inches 27 hundredths, at latitude 
20°, it must be increased to 39 in. 44", at the latitude of 
this City 39 in. 97', at 70° 39 in. 177", and at 90° 39 in. 
197", each of these considered as a medium length. 
With all your accuracy at demonstration, I should like to 
see you attempt to show that these might not have been 
the results of the pendulum, vibrating seconds on the 
surface of a hollow %lobe ? 

Other reasons, "thick as black berries," crowd on 
you against the possibility of the earth being hollow: 
"sententise numerantur non ponderantur." You state, 
'* the greater density of the earth, towards the centre, is 
proved in a most direct manner, by the experiments of Dr. 
Maskylene and of Mr. Cavendish." I admit, most readily. 


the experiments of the Astronomer Royal, with the 
plumet, at the base of the mountain Schehdlian, in Scot- 
land, were ingenious and learned ; but, certainly, liable 
to some objections. Did the Astronomer know the spe- 
cific gravity of the materials composing the mountain ? 
Did he know the exact deviation of the plumb line, or 
the quantity of matter between it and the centre of gra- 
vity ? How could be make the proper allowances for 
the influence of other matter on the plumet, besides 
the mountain ? And, without these points, so essential 
to be known, were first ascertained to mathematical 
precision, will you say the result must be regarded with 
determined accuracy ? I own, this is the nearest ap- 
proximation that has been made ; but to talk about de- 
monstrations, is a sad perversion of the term.' 

However, as I intend to treat yau courteously, as be- 
comes one of my age, to a " grave and reverend senior," 
I will, admit, for the sake of argument, all you require 
from this experiment, that, proportionally, the attraction 
of the earth is nearly double that of the mountain, as 5 
to 9 ; and then, what follows ? You say, the earth must 
increase in density to the centre. 1 suppose the expe- 
riment proves, if it proves any thing, the quantity of 
matter the e*irth contains, but not how that matter is 
arranged. Here we are at issue, and the reader may de- 
cide between us. 

If you object to all this, I will then maintain, that the 
quantity of matter given to the earth by calculation, may 
be found in a sphere of one thousand miles in thickness, 
and then not be so dense as the planet Mercury, by one 
fifth. That such arrangement of the material would be 
in strict accordance with your experiments, and with 
the general and regulating effects of gravity, I appre- 
hend would have been admitted by Ne-wton himself, 
though you may doubt it. 

That there is an increased density in the strata, as we 
descend beneath the surface, you appear to regard in 
the light of an axiom. Hence, it would be useless for 
me to attempt argument. I will, however, present one 
.or two ideas for your consideration, should you again 
give the subject a passing thought. 

If matter attracts matter, in proportion to quantity, 
and inversely, as the square of the intermediate distance, 
then the particles at the, centre of the globe must be 
equally attracted in all directions, which is the same as 
the total absence of all attractions. How then can there 
be any pressure or increased density in that direction ? 


Again, every Mathematician is acquainted with the rules 
by which the increased density of the earth is calculat- 
ed, at any given depth. By the application of these 
rules, it will probably be found, that the weight on eve* 
ry square inch, at the depth of only two miles, will be 
20,532 pounds, on every square foot it will be 2,956,508 
pounds, and on every square >»rd, the astonishing 
weight of 26, 608, 572 pounds. 

I might go on and make calculations, what would be 
the increased pressure on every square rood or acre, but 
it would exceed the powers of the imagination to con- 
ceive. It is by some such calculation the earth is made 
out to be four times as hard as hammered iron at the 

It is hard to reason on matters of this kind, from our 
total ignorance of the principles and properties of matter. 
The eye of philosophy has never penetrated far be- 
neath the surface of the earth. On this subject, Gold- 
smith has very justly remarked, "that the little bee, 
which darts its sting into a huge elephant, does more, in 
proportion, towards investigating the structure of those 
animals, than man has yet done, towards investigating 
the internal structure of the globe he inhabits." 

If, indeed, we are to regard the granite, rock, and 
other heavy substances, found upon and near the sur- 
face of the earth, as the mere alluvial soil, when com- 
pared with the more solid parts lying beneath and ex- 
tending to the centre- how can you account for the sin- 
gle phenomenon of earthquakes ? There are many well 
attested instances, where whole islands and sections of 
countries have disappeared, and others emerged from 
the bottom of the ocean. Countries have been shaken 
like the undulations of the ocean, and other parts of the 
same continent not disturbed. How can you move one 
part of a body solid as the earth attbe surface, and grow- 
ing more dense towards the centre, without, at least 
agitating all its parts ? How can explosions beneath the 
su r face, communicate wi h each other) a« has been the 
case from South America to the Azores, and that, too, 
with nearly the same velocity that sounds fly through 
the air, unless there be caverns of immense extent, be- 
neath the surface ? Yet, according to your doctrines, 
no such caverns could exist, the ponderous weight of the 
materials, "from a fluid state," gravitating towards the 
centre, would destroy them, if, in the first instance, they 
had existed. 

Of gravity, nothing is known, except in its regulating 
effects; that it is a principle inherent in matter, at least 


In all matter tkat has hitherto been the subject of hu- 
man investigation. 

You cannot demonstrate the attractive influence of 
one particle of matter on another ; how, then, can it be 
shown, that there must be four thousand miles of mat- 
ter from the surface to the centre, in order to keep bo- 
dies from flying off at a tangent, by the centrifugal 
force ? There is no magic in a centre particle. Matter 
attracts as a mass s and if we allow the centre of the 
sphere to have the same attraction, which by hypothesis 
is given to the centre of the earth, 1 cannot perceive why 
the regulating effects of gravity would not remain pre- 
cisely the same. 

I am quite amused at your notions of gravity on the »«• 
terior. You suppose men might leap twelve hundred feet 
high, and fly from place to place, by the use of a lady's 
fan— that they would only adhere to the inner surface 
by the centrifugal force. In nothing have you so com- 
pletely failed. I will not allow myself to use a harsh ex- 
pression, but, really, in this, your deductions are as un- 
philosophical as your attempt at wit is clumsy and point- 
less. In a regular symmetrical sphere, your position is 
tenable. But you do know, or ought to have known, 
that the very instant you admit polar openings, the case 
is altered, the nice balance is destroyed, and bodies must 
adhere in the concave, hy the same law of gravity, that 
they do on the exterior. You might just as well at- 
tempt to leap to the moon «* by the use of a lady's fan," 
because there is an attraction between that planet and 
the earth, as to jump from one side of the sphere to the 
other, formed on the principles of the "New Theory." 

You may lay aside all uneasiness about the diminution 
of gravity. There is, upon a globe, neither high nor 
low, up nor down. Antipodes on a sphere, like those 
on a globe, would stand on the earth as we do. The 
sky would be over their heads, and their view would be 
limited by the apparent horizon. You might just as well 
start East from Philadelphia, and travel with a view of 
arriving at the edge of the Earth, and of looking down 
over it, as to expect any fantastic appearances on the 
verge of a polar opening. 

Nature operates on a larger scale, if she operates on 
this principle at all ; and so easy and gradual would be 
the convexity, that, to an observer, it would appear like 
an immense plain, or any other part of the earth — the 
eye of the philosopher alone would be able to discover 
a new state of things. 


From the Earth you "ascend to the Heavens." Al- 
low me, at an humble distance, to follow you there, and 
see what light can be thrown on the doctrine of spheres, 
from celestial analogy. This will assist us without an 
exploring 1 p^rty. We are, by the use of glasses, better 
acquainted with some of the other planets, than with all 
the parts of our own. What spot within the bounds of 
Herschel's orbit, that has not been examined, nay, atten- 
tively examined by man, except a large portion of his 
own little spot of earth. Hence we hope, from the an- 
nals of these celestial voyagers, to find some accounts of 
other worlds that will, by the force of fair analogy, lead 
us to a better knowledge of our own ,• the poles or which 
have never been explored. 

From these researches, do we not find, that all the 
planetary bodies partake, more or less, of a spherical 
figure, agreeably to the circumstances under which they 
are placed, in relation to the known laws of nature, in 
motion and forces ? They all revolve on their own axis, 
by a diurnal rotation, and by an annual revolution around 
the Sun, as the centre of the system; all present reflect- 
ing disks, and no doubt habitable surfaces. Hence, is it 
unphilosophical to suppose the strictest analogy subsists 
throughout, and, that any theory which will explain one 
phenomenon, ought to explain all phenomena that are 
alike situated, in respect to these la'vs ? The planet 
Saturn belongs to the same system of the Earth, revolves 
around the same common centre, and is governed by 
the same general and universal laws— so that the same 
physical causes on one planet, ought to produce like 
results on the other. If this be the case, is not the old 
theory obviously defective, when applied to Saturn's 
rings; and must not any/ theory, which precludes the 
possibility of a hollow planet, or even concentric spheres, 
preclude, in like manner, the possibility of the concen- 
tric spheres or rings around the planet Saturn ? Let ill 
natured dogmatism be laid aside, and let us fairly and 
honestly, with a single eye to truth, examine the analo- 
gies this and other planets may unfold, and see whether 
it is probable the principle of spheres exists in the solar 

The rings of Saturn are, at least, two in number; some 
Astronomers have supposed more. They no where ad- 
here to each other, or to the body of the planet. They 
lie in the plane of the planet's equator, revolve in about 
the same time of the planet, and undergo phases, which 
prove them to be opaque bodies, and, like other orbs of 


the Universe, shining by reflected light, received from 
the Sun ; indeed they reflect a more briliant light than 
the planet, and casta strong shadow on his disk. 

What conclusion do you draw respecting this planet ? 
Boy ou consider these rings, the onetwenty,and the other 
seven thousand miles broad, to be mere anomalies of na- 
ture ? Are there any laws of matter on Saturn differ- 
ent from those exerted on Jupiter or the Earth ? And 
does not this planet, notwithstanding your demonstra- 
tions, strong as the thunderbolt that splinters the gnarled 
oak, clearly establish the fact, that concentric spheres do 
exist, at least, in One instance, in the solar system ? If, 
by occular demonstration, we know they do exist in one 
instance, is it an unreasonable inquiry to examine whe- 
ther they do not exist in all, in a greater or less degree ? 
Is not nature generally uniform in all her operations ? Do 
not similar causes, acting under like circumstances, ever 
produce like effects ? Physical nature seldom departs 
from her regular line of operation ; if she does, can there 
not generally be assigned some good cause for the 
change ? 

Let us, then, examine the phenomena of Saturn's rings 
abstractly, and see if science can afford a solution, why 
this planet should be different from all other orbs in the 

What is the use of these appendages to the planet 
they circumvolve, though the time of their revolution, 
by the la^s of Kepler,is the same that would be required 
of satellites ? Are they to shed a faint light on the 
planet ? How can the inhabitants be benefited by the 
light they reflect ? Those on whom the direct rays of 
the Sun fall, are the only ones who could receive the di- 
rect rays from the rings, and, of course, this light would 
not be needed. 

Again : Are not the rays reflected from the rings, in- 
tercepted from falling on that part of the planet which 
has just emerged from fifteen years' darkness ; or. they 
are intercepted from falling on these parts that are 
about to enter into the depth of the Saturnian night ? 
In both these cases, must we not conclude, that for the 
purpose of lighting the planet, the rings were not in- 
tended ? Do you suppose the rings of this planet are to 
assist the moons in lessening the gloom of fifteen years' 
darkness that reigns alternately around each of his poles, 
only reflect that the unenlightened side of the rings are 
always towards the dark pole of the planet. 

Should you still persist in supposing they may be in- 
tended to cheer the night in the oppesite hemisphere., 

1' answer, that but little of the enlightened part of the 
disk of the rings can be seen in the night : for on that 
part of the planet they are, themselves, eclipsed by it. 
And further : 1 can scarcely suppose the presence of the 
rings so absolutely necessary, when seven moons cheer 
the night, and when the nights are less than five hours 
in length. 

If, then, these concentric rings be not purposely in- 
tended, by Creative Wisdom, to increase the light and 
heat of the planet, what conclusion can we come to, but 
that they were so disposed, in order to increase the pla- 
netary surface, for the accommodation of organized life ? 
If we draw this conclusion, in this instance, must we not 
draw it, in all instances, where we suppose the same 
laws of matter to be exerted ? 

The matter composing the rings, if added to the body 
of the planet, would increase planetary surface, agreea- 
bly to the principles of the old theory. And why should 
the never-varying effects of nature depart in this in- 
stance from her regular line of conduct ? It is believed 
she has not ; but that the same principle extends, in a 
more or less degree, to all the planets belonging to the 
same system, governed, as they most unquestionably are s 
by the same laivs. 

And have we no reason for believing the planet Jupi- 
ter constituted similarly to that of Saturn I Let us in- 
quire. The moons of Saturn, seven in number, are 
known to revolve, nearly in the plane, and over the edge 
of the rings; for Herschell saw them, like beads on a 
string, moving round the outer edge of the rings, when 
they presented their edges to him, and appeared like a 
white thread, drawn around the disk of the planet. 
This as La Place says, is in strict accordance with the 
laws of gravity, to which, of course, you will most scru- 
pulously adhere. The accumulation of matter, upon 
and over the equatorial regions of Saturn, by the posi- 
tion of his rings, would cause the satellites to revolve in 
the same plane, by virtue of the superabundant influ- 
ence ot gravity exerted there. 

If this be the fact, is not the same disposition of mat- 
ter necessary to produce the same results in other plan- 
ets ? In other words, Are not the same physical causes 
necessary to produce the same physical effects ? If you 
are disposed to reason fairly, you certainly must admit 
it. The satellites of the planet Jupiter are known to 
revolve, with even less deviation from the plane of his 
equator, than those of Saturn from the plane of his rings. 


Does not this circumstance indicate the high probabili- 
ty, that Jupiter is also surrounded by concentric rings R 
and thus, by a like accumulation of matter over his equa- 
tor, cause his moons to revolve in the same manner of 
those belonging to his next neighbor, Saturn ; but from 
the position they constantly keep to the earth, and the 
rays of the Sun, have never been seen. When the 
plane of Saturn's rings pass through the Sun, as Jupiter's 
always do, it is difficult to see them, even with Dr. 
Herscheil's powerful and best reflecting telescope : or, 
to use your own language, "that when their edges are 
turned towards us, they are completely invisible, even 
with the aid of very powerful telescopes." Now, this is 
the unvarying position Jupiter always maintains to the 
earth, and according to your own acknowledgments 
his spheres could not be seen. 

For the sake of science, I have thus insisted on the 
analogy between these immense globe?, and not on ac- 
count of the new Theory ; for its principles or possibili- 
ty, I do conceive is^clearly established by the planet Sa- 

But, the analogies between these immense plan* 
ets do. not stop here. You know they are both encir- 
cled with belts, or zones, which in 5aturn£vary in ap- 
pearance according to the direction of his rings. Why 
are these belt-like appearances alternately, light and 
dark ? Why do they vary in their appearance, some- 
times run into each other, again separate, and appear to 
move with different velocities ? Have they ever been 
satisfactorily accounted for? or have they not always 
been matters of dispute, and of vague conjecture ? 

If Jupiter be a plain globe, how is it possible to ac- 
count for the various changes which take olace in his 
belts, or how account for the belts at all ? How account 
for their parallelism with the planet's equator, or how 
account for the well known and acknowledged fact, tfeat 
the spots on one belt rotate faster than those on another? 

The City of Baltimore, when she gets her rail road, 
may advance faster than Philadelphia in commerce, but 
as •' out side passengers," on the same sphere, I appre- 
hend they must go round together. If these belts are 
not the verges of spheres, overhanging each other, and 
becoming narrow as they recede from the centre, what 
are they ? You may say, as others have said, that they 
are clouds dispersed into belts or strakes, by the great 
diurnal velocity of the planet. This is as unsatisfacto- 
ry as it is unphilosophical, aod contrary tQ every tfuog 


we see around us. Such a supposition is subverting the 
foundation of the Newtonian philosophy, and re estab- 
lishing- the old and long exploded doctrine, that, if the 
earth revolve from West to East, we should be constant- 
ly assailed by an Easterly storm. If the velocity of a 
planet be ever so great, I apprehend its atmosphere 
moves with it. 

But if we adopt the principle of concentric spheres, 
in those enormous planets, which are from one thousand 
to sixteen hundred times as large as the earth, it does 
really appear, that we shall be no longer at a loss to ac- 
count for these various appearances, which have hither- 
to been deemed inexplicable. Perhaps I am too san- 
guine in my temperament, and see reasons where none 
exist. You cannot, however, be charged with any pre- 
dilection in favor of going beyond the beaten track, 
therefore I am willing you shall decide on the soundness 
of my positions. 

These concentric spheres, it is supposed, are narrower 
as they lie above each other, and are removed farther 
from the centre of the aggregate. Now, sir, is not this 
supposition within the pale of sound philosophy ? Does 
not the force of gravity diminish, according to the in- 
verse ratio of the squares of the distance, while the 
centrifugal force increases in proportion to the distance 
from the centre of revolution ? 

Then, according to this principle— and it is strictly a 
Newtonian principle — will not bodies, which lie more 
remote from the centre of the aggregate, subject to a 
greater centrifugal force, yield more sensibly to that 
force, according to the diminution of gravity ? Those 
concentric spheres, therefore, which lie farthest from 
the centre, would yield most to the centrifugal force, 
and lie narrower and narrower around the equatorial 
parts of the planet, while some that were very remote 
would be flattened into rings, or, as you express it* 
"plates of matter." 

Your views of the want of analogy between this plan- 
et and the earth appear to have been formed without 
any reference to the relative forces exerted on these 
planets. You remark, " Nothing, surely, can less re- 
semble concentric spheres than these rings ;" whilst, in 
the very next paragraph, you own, " they are placed 
under circumstances entirely different from those of the 
imaginary terrestrial crust." It requires a very small 
share of sagacity to discover a contradiction in these 
statements. Do you require bodies, " placed under very 
different circumstances," to be precisely the same ? 


But, the difference between the spheres of Saturn 
and the Earth is just what ought to be expected from 
this " difference of situation. 

The Earth is about eight thousand miles in diameter, 
and revolves once in twenty-four hours. From this slow 
rotary motion, the sphere would lie wide, as it is known 
to do, whether it be hollow, or a solid globe. 

The outer spheres of Saturn are from one hundred 
and seventy-six to more than two hundred thousand 
miles in diameter, and revolve once in ten hours and a 
half and therefore would lie narrower in proportion to 
their velocity. Hence t the difference of appearance and 
situation of which you speak does not arise from the 
effect of different laws, but in the difference in the force 
of these laws. 

The verges or edges of inner spheres showing 1 be- 
yond those that lie higher and are narrower, will ac- 
count for the general appearance. And if we suppose 
the verges to be deflected, as the appearance of nature 
indicates on our Earth, we can, appartntly, account for 
the minutia of the planet. By its diurnal revolution 
with these spheres, all the regular and various appear- 
ances of the belts might be produced. The different 
angles at which the SHm's rays would strike the deflect- 
ed verges would account for the more luminous parts of 
the belts, while the vacancies between the spheres 
would appear dark. The belts of comparative shade 
would be produced by refraction of the rays of light. 
One verge would sometimes eclipse the next below it,and 
at other times not, according to the position of the rings. 
The edge of one sphere rather overhanging another in 
one place, and receding from it in another, would ap- 
pear to make the belts run into each other ; and is not 
this the very state of things presented by these planets? 

The spheres revolving on different axes and with dif- 
ferent velocities will satisfactorily explain that which, 
on the old theory, does really appear inexplicable, that 
the spots or objects seen on the belts of a solid globe 
should rotate with different velocities. 

Now, your objection to all this is really overwhelm- 
ing. It displays all that profundity in research, acuteness 
in thought, and happy facility at " demonstration" one 
would naturally be led to expect from the modest de- 
claration in your circular, that " Philadelphia has within 
herself a larger fund of talent, erudition, and science, 
than any other American City can boast." 

That I may not do you injustice, I will carefully trans- 
cribe your own words : *' In this case, the outer crusts 


must be supposed to extend but a few degrees beyond 
the equator of Jupiter, but each one further than that 
which is above it ; so that the edge of the planet would 
exhibit the appearance of notches or steps. But, in 
fact, the outline is perfectly well defined and unbroken; 
and thus we have the direct evidence of our senses 
against this wild hypothesis." 

In looking at the roof of a house, at a great distance, 
do you see the " notches or steps" made by the layer of 
shingles, or is there any thing more plain, that the part 
of reflection wanting in the exterior sphere would be 
supplied by the one beneath, and thus render the disk 
complete ? For illustration : when the poles of Saturn 
are at right angles to the plane of his orbit, as Jupiter's 
always are, his spheres, as you justly observe, "are 
completely invisible ;" no "notches, steps," or ridges, 
to be seen ; the disk is " perfectly well defined and un- 
broken;" and thus we have your own declaration, and 
the direct evidence of our own senses, in favor of this -wild 

I must admit the force of your objection in relation to 
the Sun. I was unaware that his poles had ever been ex- 
amined. I had, indeed, been taught to regard him as 
affording but little evidence one way or the other, from 
the fact that he is always surrounded by a very luminous 
atmosphere, so much larger than the Earth, and that the 
earth was never very far from the plane of the Sun's 

The clearness with which you speak about the figure, 
attraction, and influence of the Moon, requires a passing 

The poles of the Moon, even at the time of libration, 
are not turned, in any perceptible degree, towards the 
Earth ; hence, it is difficult to tell, from observation, 
whether there are polar openings or not : and you must 
own, this difficulty would be greatly increased from the 
atmosphere around the Moon being so extremely rare 
as to produce , little or no refraction. Moreover, if the 
Moon, or any other planet, be near the opposition or 
conjunction, the polar openings will not be very easily 
discovered : for, if we are nearly in the direction of the 
light, no hollow would be visible, if the poles were ever 
so much turned to us, unless in the direction that would 
present an extended view through the planet. 

The shadow of the earth on the Moon in partial 
eclipses, is, perhaps, among the most plausible objec- 
tions you have urged. It presents a difficulty to roy 


own mind that has never been satisfactorily solved. 
However, on reflection and examination, I have conclud- 
ed, in my own mind, that it is not " demonstration," and 
especially, in part, from the following considerations : 

1st. The number of visible eclipses are few. 

2d. The author may have placed the verges of the 
polar openings too near the equator. 

Sd. The plane of the opening being inclined to the 
plane of the equator, when the rays of the sun should 
happen, in an eclipse, to pass over the high part of the 
verge, the shadow would be sensibly circular; when 
they passed over the low part, the same result might be 

Should an eclipse happen at a time when the rays of 
the sun must pass over the plane of the opening, it 
would seem that a prolongation should appear on the 
shadow cast on the moon, occasioned by the high part 
of the verge; and on the authority of Ticho Brahi, 
Cassini, and Kepler, I am authorized to say, that such 
appearances have been seen. 

A gentleman of high attainments in solid science, of 
your own city, informed me, that such a prolongation 
of the shadow of the earth, on the moon, had been no- 
ticed, and I believe, recorded, in the city of Philadel- 
phia. If these authorities can at all be relied on, the 
tables will be turned, and this objection brought as one 
of the strongest arguments in favor of " this -wild hy- 
pothesis. 3 * 

4ch. It is also very possible that, since no observations 
have been made in reference to such a state of things, 
a slight deviation in the shadow from a true curve, might 
have happened, without being recorded. I leave it, if 
you please, in medio. 

Within the effulgence ot the Sun's rays, Mercury is 
lost from observation ; and little is known of the planet 
Georgium Sidus, owing to his immense distance. If the 
spheres, or rings of Saturn, are to be regarded as mere 
appendages to light him, or to assist the moons in cheer- 
ing the inhabitants, I suppose you can easily demon- 
strate how many spheres would be required to give the 
same light on Georgium Sidus, which, being double the 
distance from the Sun, enjoys, according to Newton's 
calculation, only one fourth the quantity of light. 

I would willingly pursue the analysis of the planets 
in extenso, but am warned by the increasing length of 
this article to desist. I leave you, therefore, en passant, 
in the undisturbed possession of your reveries about the 


planet Mars, to account for the phenomena of his polar 
regions, by arranging" the circles of ice to suit your own 
fancy. Still more unwilling am I to snatch from you the 
meed of praise, you will doubtless acquire from the as- 
tronomers of Europe, when they learn that you doubt 
their authority, that the cusp, or horn cf Verlits, when a 
crescent, or nearly so on the Sun, ever bends in, as it 
were, on the body of the planet, to an extent of nearly 
fifteen degrees. For this you ought to be elected Felbw 
of the Royal Society of London. 

Ere 1 conclude, there is one more physical view 'of 
this subject, to which I beg leave, most especially to 
invite your attention : it is, the law regulating the dif- 
ferent densities of the planets. 

With the solitary exception of Georgium Sidus, about 
which, however, there is but little known, their densi- 
ties decrease, as the habitable world recedes from the 
centre of light and heat. 

Mercury being - 9 T ^ 

Venus ------ 5\% 

Earth - 4f 

Mars ------ Sf 

Jupiter 1^ 

Saturn- - : - - - ff 

Georgium Sidus, supposed to be - T 9 ^ 

Or, regarding the earth as five times the density or 
solidity of water, Mercury will be more than ten times 
the density of water, Venus about the same as the 
earth, Mars a little more than one half, Jupiter will be 
the density of water, white the planet Saturn is only one 
half the solidity of Jupiter 

On these calculations of density is reared the whole 
structure of the Newtonian Philosophy. Deny them, and 
that splendid and well proportioned edifice, that has 
been reared by so many master workmen, will lose its 
foundation, and fall to the ground. 

And yet, have you never discovered any difficulty in 
this matter ? Have you never reflected on the singular 
calculation, when you admit the planet to be sixty-eight 
thousand miles in diameter, and only one-half the'so- 
lidity of water — one thousand times as large as the 
Earth, and to contain only ninety-eight times the quan- 
tity of matter ? To this very doctrine you subscribe, 
and at the same time affect to laugh at the idea of the 
Earth being hollow. 


I arm not informed (perhaps you are) whether any 
Astronomer Royal on Saturn, has demonstrated, " in a 
most direct manner," his density by the experiments of 
the plumet at the base of his mountains. . On this point 
however, you stand committed, and must, for the sake 
of consistency, admit, that similar experiments on other 
planets, would prove this " increased density of the 
strata" in descending toward the centre. 

Then, sir, as the mean density of the planet Saturn 
is only one-half that of water, and if the heavy part of 
his materials lie in, around, and about, his centre, what 
do you suppose his surface is composed of? I will not 
attempt accuracy in calculation ; 1 leave this depart- 
ment for you ; but I will venture to say, that when you 
have made acute relative calculations, you will find the 
surface of that planet te be about one-fifth the density 
of water, and the ocean not much more solid than the 
comltnon atmospheric air we breathe. 

How does Saturn present a reflecting disk, or a habit- 
able surface ? Fairies could scarce live on such a planet. 
I do not say Almighty power could not cause each pla- 
net to be inhabited by beings suited to it ; so he could 
cause water to run up hill, or one planet to revolve 
and another to remain stationary, and at the same time 
produce all the variety of season,- but, does he do it? 
Do we see our orb wheeling in its stately course, and 
another remaining stationary, or do we not see them 
alike in appearance, and in the laws which govern them ? 

Is the infinite divisibility of the particles of matter, or 
the principle of chrystalization resorted to, for an expla- 
nation of this singular state of things ? What is this, but 
adopting for each planet, if not different laws, at least 
a different application of the same laws, to sustain which, 
I should like to see where you can get the shadow of 
analogy ? 1 will go further, and say, that to suppose 
such an arrangement of the materials in a planet, is tin- 
philosophical, because, it is admitting, "as an element 
into the calculation " a state of things, of which, in truth, 
we can form no idea; we have nothing to compare it to : 
for we have seen nothing in nature like it. 

By this time, I can readily conceive your patience 
pretty well exhausted, and that you are about to take 
leave of the subject, by pronouncing me a heretic in 
philosophy. Allow me, however, to advise you to keep 
cool, and read on — there is nothing like being dispas- 
sionate. On no account, allow yourself to follow the 
example of a distinguished Editor of your city t who has, 

on several occasions, indulged in expressions and low 
comparisons, (against those who supposed there was 
any thing new to be learned,) that might have put to 
blush the fisher xv omen in Billingsgate. I would insert 
some of them here, were I not fearful they might mil- 
dew this communication, and disqualify it from appear- 
ing in any respectable journal. 

How then do you suppose I shall meet this question, 
of density ? By denying the possibility of attaining a 
knowledge of the fact ? No ! you would, then charge 
me with departing from the Newtonian principles. I 
will own that these calculations are well founded. If 
I may use the expression, the planets are weighed with 
determined accuracy, especially those which have satel- 
lites. Then my conclusion is this : if they cannot con- 
tain more matter than would render their mean density 
such as has been stated, is it not more philosophical, 
more consistent with common sense, with what we see 
and know of nature around us, and will it not render 
the planets more analogous to each other, to suppose 
them to be more or less hollow, instead of different den- 
sities, agreeably to the quantities of matter, which, 
from rigid calculation, they are known to contain ? 

Does not this restore a harmony hitherto unknown to 
the system ? Instead of regarding one planet with 
spheres, and the rest solid, one like iron, and others 
like vapor, they are rendered more completely analo- 
gous to each other. Can philosophy reject this ar- 
rangement of the material ? Wherein does it do vio- 
lence to any of your favorite doctrines and darling 
principles ? Does it add one particle of matter to, or 
substract one from, the planets ? And^is not the harmo- 
ny of the system maintained by the relative influence 
of the planets on each other, and is not this relative in- 
fluence produced by the relative quantities of matter 
they contain ? I repeat, how can it interfere, or be at 
variance with a single calculation that has been made 
on correct principles since the days of Plato ? Here I 
apprehend is the great difficulty : We have a new doc- 
trine broached ; the mind startles ; our pride is aroused ; 
we cannot brook the idea of beginning our studies 
again, de novo, and we pass sentence without further 

If the doctrines of spheres have any foundation in aa- 
ture, it is in strict accordance with the laws laid down 
by Newton ; it is founded on them, and instead of be- 
ing considered a new system, might be called merely 


one step in advance of the old, and by that step, at least, 
apparently account for the phenomena of nature hither- 
to deemed inexplicable. 

Are these the mere visions of fancy, idle and specula- 
tive amusements ? Are these viexvs which a Newtonian 
philosopher cannot indulge with consistency and plea- 
sure, not even when he finds the principles held, by that 
great master in science, so well adapted to the explana- 
tion of the phenomena within the sphere of their influ- 
ence ? Does it not give us enlarged ideas of nature, 
and additional reasons to admire the power and wisdom 
of that Being, who spake, and worlds sprang into ex- 
istence, and by the energies of whose power they are 
still sustained ? Would not the mind soar beyond its 
accustomed limits, in beholding a Jupiter wheeling in 
his Kingly course, and supporting, as he would, more 
organized, and no doubt, intelligent beings, than the 
whole solar system, on the principle of the old doctrine? 

How grand the thought, to see a Saturn with his 
splendid equipage of spheres and moons, not as anoma- 
lies of nature, but as a part of a mighty system of worlds, 
that extends not only throughout the whole solar sys- 
tem, but in other worlds "where the concave heaven 
unfolds its broad blue bosom." 

And when we go still further, and contemplate the 
eighty millions of fixed stars, which a good glass pre- 
sents to our view, each the centre of another, and a 
mighty system, around which other planets, similar to 
our own, are revolving in their respective orbits — and 
then on fancy's wing, go on, on, still on, till our own 
sun has become like one of the most. distant of the 
twinkling stars, and then reflect that all this is the mere 
outpost of creation Yes, that all these, with more than 
thought has ever told, are probably revolving around 
some other centre, and that centre perhaps the Throne 
of Deity. Grand and sublime, and at the same time 
overwhelming as is such thought, it is even enlarged, 
in contemplating this new arrangement of the material, 
where every planet within itself becomes to a certain 
extent, a system of worlds. This view, though alto- 
gether fanciful, and not at all to be regarded in the light 
of arguments, nevertheless, one which natural theology 
will ever delight to trace in the works of the Great Ar- 

Surely, then, the mere possibility of the truth of such 
a doctrine, would seem to entitle it to a serious 
thought from the wisest philosopher of the present day. 


And, speaking for myself, and on my own responsibili- 
ty, this is all I require. 1 will go further, and say, that 
it should not be expected, in so early a stage of the in- 
vestigation, that the evidence in favor of it should com- 
mand a determined belief. I will go still further, and 
remark, that I would not myself give up my faith *' in 
the old fashioned philosophy" in the present state of the 
inquiry. But, while there are any phenomena to be 
explained, I would maintain the doctrine fearlessly, to 
extend our researches, alike regardless whether they 
established a new theory, or gave confirmation to an 
old one. Indeed, I regard theories as mere cob-ivebs, at 
best, which are true or false, in exact proportion to 
the number of well authenticated facts upon which they 
are founded. 

I did not set down to my desk, therefore, with the 
expectation of convincing you, or any other individual, 
that the earth is tollo-w. 1 have attempted to show that 
it might be so — with what success I leave for you and 
the candid to determine. I have, indeed, thought you 
failed very materially in your attempts to prove its im- 
possibility. You will get along better with such demon- 
strations, after you have pulled down the spheres of 
Saturn, erased the belts of Jupiter, extended the cusp 
of Venus, shown how the spots on the belts of a solid 
globe can rotate with different velocities, rendered more 
rational the doctrine of densities, and " demonstrated" 
that the same physicaWaws ought not to produce the 
same results on planets alike situated. 

If I have successfully repelled the idea you would 
convey, that the whole subject is ridiculous and impos- 
sible, it is the ultimatum of this communication. I shall 
resume the subject again, not with a view to say much 
more about the theory, but to give a few remarks in re- 
lation to the contemplated expedition. I shall show 
how unfair, or misinformed, you have been, and how 
contrary to facts you have gone, in blending them to« 
gether, discouraging the one, because you could not 
subscribe to all the doctrines of the other. I conclude 
this article, in the very appropriate remarks of an ex- 
cellent contemporary writer: "that the fate of many 
projectors have been so melancholy, that it requires at 
this time, the daring spirit, and the enthusiasm, which 
are naturally allied to genius in any man, to announce 
himself as the inventor of any thing new and extraordi* 
nary. The patience and perseverance of a Gallileo, 
and the adventurous spirit of a Fulton, are necessary to 

> 26 

bira who would benefit his species by the results of ori- 
ginal plans and forms, or that of new combinations of 
old and tried ones. Hence we cannot but respect and 
admire the man, who, regardless of the hard fate of so 
many who have trodden before him in the thorny path 
of improvment, still has the fortitude and philosophy of 
mind to spend years in toil and study, and trim the mid- 
night lamp with the vigilance ascribed to the ancient 
vestals, in bringing to perfection an idea, from which he 
hopes to reap fame and benefit to himself, and to reflect 
credit, at the same time, on the genius of his country." 
Respectfully, I am your obedient servant, 


No. ir. 

To the Editor of the American Quarterly Review. 

Sir : I shall redeem my promise, made in the conclu- 
sion of the last number, to say but little about the "teild 
hypothesis." I do this the more readily, because I have 
no solicitude or ambition to carry on a paper warfare 
against such heavy metal. The very name of a grave re- 
vietoer, enthroned in his editorial chair, Procrustes like, 
cutting, carding, and spliceing, inspires me with respect 
and a little timid dread. 

Indeed, I know of no good that could result from a 
prolonged,or stubborn controversy about an abstract pro- 
position. If the doctrine of spheres be any thing more 
than the dream of fancy, its leading principles have been 
sufficiently unfolded in the past communication, to elicit 
the spirit of inquiry, and to answer all my purpose in the 
controversy, so far as I am interested. 

Simple declamation, nor perhaps reasoning, with the 
materials, as yet acquired, cannot prove it true, and 
equally unsuccessful will you be in refuting it, by seiz- 
ing on weak points, laughing when you ought to reason, 
destroying the symmetry of the system, and then bringing 
all your strength to beat it down, for its want of regulari- 
ty. I will only notice two or three points, merely to 
show how you might be followed, and answered, even 
where you are encircled in all the self complacency of 

1 quote from your review the following very platonic 
sentence : " We come now to consider the arguments 
which are drawn from the evidence of voyagers and tra- 


vellers in the arctic regions. This evidence, it would, 
indeed, seem, must be decisive of the question, if any 
question still remain ; [If any question still remain : thai 
is to say, gentle reader, dont you think my past reasoning 
has been very conclusive. ] for seas and lands, far within 
the imaginary verge?, have been repeatedly traversed, 
in all directions, and no signs of a polar opening have 
been perceived. " ' ( 

This is, indeed, an objection I did not expect from 
you — one l have seldom, if ever, heard made by men of 
science. " No signs of a polar opening have been per- 
ceived." And what signs do you suppose ought to have 
been perceived ? The same as descending into a well, 
or some other such appearance, / suppose. A sphere 
of one thousand miles in thickness, must, necessarily, be 
fifteen hundred miles around it, from the exterior to the 
supposed interior: and such a gradual convexity would 
present the same appearance and plain sailing of any 
other part of the Globe. 

It is true, on the verge of a polar opening, there are 
some phenomena that ought to be noticed in accurate 
observations ; nor are they wanting. The latitude and 
longitude found by celestial observation, would some- 
times differ very materially from the rua of the log line, 
In sailing around, or obliquely across the verge, the al- 
titude of a heavenly body would not rise and fall, in pro- 
portion to k the distance sailed by the measurement of 
the log { while, sailing directly across the verge, the 
contrary phenomenon would be noticed. Now it 
happens, that just such things have very frequently 
been noticed and recorded by navigators in high lati- 
tudes. As late and good authority, see Ross's Voyages, 
London edition, vol. 2, p. 4. 

Corresponding to this would be the extent of vision 
on the plane of the verge. A conformation, however, to 
be received with caution, owing to the refractive quali- 
ty of the atmosphere in the polar regions. 

There is no part of the Earth where optical delusions 
are so frequent. Objects are sometimes reflected from 
the ice, depicted in the sky, in inverted positions ; over- 
turned and reflected in a thousand different ways, offer- 
ing to the view castles of crystal in ruins, shattered py- 
ramids and obelisks, arches and vaults, churches, towers, 
and battlements, all suspended in the air. 

It is not, however, to such cases as these I allude ; but, 
where objects are really seen farther, (as it were by the 
eye extending along the verge,) than could be expect- 


ed from the curve of a regular sphere, or sp/mroid. And 
if the phenomena recorded by Ross and others, of seeing 
land at the distance of one hundred and fifty and two 
hundred miles,are to be exclusively accounted for by re- 
fraction, then the refractive poxver of the atmosphere 
must raise the land four miles and a half high, in order 
to bring it to a plain, with the eye of the observer. Now, 
the single paragraph you quote from Ross, suits your 
purpose very well ; but it proves nothing more than has 
been, and will alv/ays be, readily admitted. It does not 
at all reach the case, where the powers of vision have 
been greatty extended, independent of all refraction. 
See Ross, pp. 71, 135, 199, 206 ;* Capt. Parry's 2d voy- 
age, June 15th, page not recollected ; and many others 
that might be noticed. 

One reason why I believe the power of vision is not 
always explained by simple refraction is, that Captain 
Scoresby, one of the most scientific seamen who ever 
sailed to the North, informs us that the power of seeing 
objects at an immense distance, appeared to be confined 
to two directions, while in the other two points of the 
compass the vision was even more limited than on the 
equatorial parts of the Earth. Evanescent and uncer- 
tain as these observations may be, this is pretty strong ; 
though 1 have little doubt, from the examples I have 
witnessed of your facility at demonstration , it will appear 
to be the natural remit of a regular sphere. 

If you will take the trouble of walking to the respect- 
able house of Messrs. Reed and Gray, in Market street, 
in your own City, you will find, that while Captain Reed 
commanded a vessel in commercial pursuits, he was 
once in those remote parts of the Earth which answers 
to the supposed verge — that he saw land distinctly at 
the astonishing distance of 180 miles, 'at a time when the 
atmosphere was so clear, that stars of the third magni- 
tude was visible. He considered it extraordinary at the 
time— made a regular entry of the distance in his log 
book, which, I have no doubt, you can see at any 

There are many other phenomena of those regions 
that might be adduced in further confirmation, and I 
omit them, only because it is extremely difficult to ren- 
der them clear to the comprehension of the reader, 
without the use of globes. 

There is one reflection which would seem very natu- 

* The pages will be found to vary in different editions. 


rally to follow in this place. These observations have 
all been made strictly in reference to the Earth's being 1 
a sphere, and when objects have been seen at a greater 
distance than could be expected from its globular form, 
the subject has been referred to, and accounted for, on 
the principle of refraction. 

** Land and seas far within the imaginary verges, have 
frequently been traversed in all directions," &c. This 
is very imposing, and requires a passing notice. You 
admit, that meridians in high latitudes would form 
curve lines, occasioned by the deflexion of the verge to 
the plane of the equator. If the theory be true, such, 
indeed, will be the fact. A meridian is not necessarily 
a straight line. The very definition of the term is, 12 
o'clock. Hence, take as many points from the equa- 
tor to the high part of the verge, as will show the Sun 
farthest above the horizon at the same instant, then 
draw a line uniting these points, and it w*ill be a true 
meridian, whether a direct or curved line. 

The navigator or the traveller, therefore, proceeding 
North from the Equator, on the continent of America, 
when he arrives in the neighborhood cf the verge, the 
meridian on which he is travelling or sailing, will turn 
imperceptibly to the right, and will be first indicated by 
an increased variation of the magnetic needle to the 
West, occasioned, as it unquestionably would be, by the 
meridians forming curve lines to the highest point of the 

A traveller, in like manner, proceeding North on the 
continent of Asia, when in corresponding latitudes, 
would observe an Easterly variation of the needle* cor- 
responding to the Westerly variation on the continent 
of America, occasioned, also, in like manner, by the 
meridian winding along the verge to its highest or most 
Northerly point. That such are the phenomena of the 
needle, you have not attempted to deny, or to afford 
any other solution. 

As it regards that mysterious agency which gives po* 
larity to the needle, I profess not to be able to remove 
the veil which obscures it from the eye of philosophy. 
There are, however, some phenomena of the needle, 
that would seem strongly to corroborate the doctrine of 
winding meridians. 

For many years after the discovery of the compass, it 

was believed that the needle exactly coincided with the 

plane of the meridian, and, consequently, that all the 

points of the compass agreed with the corresponding 



points of the horizon. Columbus was the first who disco- 
vered the variation of the needle from a true meridian; 
but he was not aware that the variation was different, at 
different periods of time in the same place. 

In the year 1394, we find, from the works of Edw.Gil- 
librand, Professor of Astronomy in Gresham College, 
that the variation of the needle was not always the same 
in the same place ; and a thousand recent observations 
have confirmed it. 

From the observations of Mr. Burrows, in 1580, the vari- 
ation had diminished more than 7° in 54 years. In the 
year 1657, according to Mr. Bond's observations, there 
was no variationof the needle at London ; but since that 
time it has been declining Westward, and is, at this 
time, about 24° Westerly of a true meridian. 

We may then say, that on any meridian, ta the 50° 
or 60° North latitude, there is a slight variation, or, per- 
haps, more properly speaking, an oscillation of the nee- 
dle, alternately varying from East to West, and, after a 
succession of years, from West to East again. 

The observations, within the above latitudes, are 
recorded, alike in Europe, Asia, and America. Now, 
the application or inquiry to be made is s mply this: 
Why does the needle vary from 24° to 124° West, in 
high latitudes, as has been recorded by Ross and Parry, 
and never East, unless the meridian deviate* from a 
true line ? The same may be asked in relation to Asia. 
Proceeding North of Spitzbergen, the needle does not 
appear to vary, very materially, from low latitudes ; and 
this isjust what ought to be expected, from the meridi- 
an crossing more directly over the high point of the 
verge. Thefrequent sallies of the needle prove^othing 
against the general results ; they only prove that, in high 
latitudes, it is more easily affected by local attraction. 

It is believed, a navigator may proceed North, from 
our continent, guided by celestial observation, until he 
arrives at the 90°, where the meridians all meet under 
the pole-star or nearly so — and where the plane of the 
hor'rzon will cut the axis of the earth at right angles ; 
proceeding on in the same direction, until he arrives 
an Siberia, in Asia, suppose he had exploded the new 
Theory, and at the same time a polar opening of more 
than four thousand miles in diameter may exist. Hence 
all your observations about navigators having traversed, 
in all directions in the interior, does .not need a com- 
ment, unless it be, the simple remark, that before a man 
attempts to criticise a Theory, he should, at least, make 
himself acquainted with it. 


In remarking on the observations made on a meridian 
passing- near Spitzbergen, you are equally unfortunate. 
You say they have been ten degrees within the verge, 
The error in your calculation appears to be founded on 
miscalculating' the extent of the curve. Suppose the 
verge North of Europe commenced at 70* that it was 
20° around it — would experiments made at 80°, be " 10° 
■within it ? u Apply the same to the South. Besides, I 
know of no measurements taken in those high latitudes,, 
and suppose you had reference to the vibrations of the 
pendulum. If the Theory be true, the labors of Sa- 
bine, will probably, when analyzed, indicate a greater 
flattening- *t the poles, than was dreamed of in our old 
fashioned philosophy. 

But, I have pursued this subject too far already, I did 
not intend to be led into a prolonged controversy, on the 
abstract question of the figure of the Earth. Such re- 
marks as I supposed your review required, in relation to 
it, I have made 

I have purposely refrained from saying much about 
the general style of the investigation ; I feared that I was 
nCtsufficiently impartial to do so. To examine the prin- 
ciples of the Theory was legitimately within the sphere 
of your Editorial labors, and no one lias a right to com- 
plain. I leave it, however, for others to determine, 
now far you have been fortunate in the manner of your 

If the subject deserved notice at all, it was as a mat- 
ter of science, and ought to have been treated as such. 
Your play, therefore, upon words, and labored witti- 
cisms, will, I fear, be generally regarded as a small busi- 
ness for the Editor of a Quarterly. 

Be this as it may, I come now to notice those parts of 
your review which I deem by far the most essential to be 
examined. They relate not so much to the theory a? to 
matters of science and discovery in general, and this is 
the only light in which I shall treat them. If the posi- 
tions you have so strongly assumed, be really true, then, 
there is at once an end to all further inquiry, and suc- 
cessful research toward the pole; there is a line, an 
jtltima Thufe, beyond which, human enterprise and 
adventure cannot extend. 

Now, 1 have been taught to regard this in a very dif- 
ferent point of view r . I shall maintain, and with what suc- 
cess will hereafter appear, that there are important dis- 
coveries to be made independent, and altogether dis- 
connected from "visionary speculation," 


I shall meet you on this point, and at the same time 
most studiously avoid saying any thing that can even be 
extorted into theory. If, in this inquiry, you sbali, at 
any time, find yourself unpleasantly situated, the fault 
is yours, not mine. In the fervency of your zeal to ex- 
plode a new doctrine, you may very imperceptibly and 
innocently have gone beyond the pale of well authenti- 
cated facts. 

Not content with having demonstrated that the Earth 
must be solid, with an increased density to the centre, you 
go still further, and block up the polar regions with 
eternal and interminable fields of ice. And in relation to 
©pen seas in those directions, you observe, "as to the 
North pole, ive may noxo, perhaps, consider this as doubtful, 
as it is certainly nst confirmed by the results of the late 

This is the great and important point of inquiry. It is 
one on which we are directly at issue ; as I shall main- 
tain, that, so far from being the fact, the reverse is true ,- 
that there is apparently an icy circle, both to the North 
and to the South, which being once passed, the ocean 
becomes less encumbered with ice, " and the nearer the 
pole the less ice." This is, perhaps, a bold proposi- 
tion, one certainly not to be decided by abstract calcu- 
lation, or speculation, or hypothesis, or more probable 
suppositions; but must be received or rejected, in pro- 
portion to the evidence that can be collected and re- 
lied on. 

I shall first examine the papers read before the Royal 
Society of London, by the Hon D. Barrington, and 
Col. Beaufoy, on the possibility of reaching the North 
Pole, as well as other authors. I shall make no attempts 
at originality, or chronological arrangement. Captain 
Robinson, in the year 1773, appears to have reached 
North latitude 82° 30 7 , and found the ocean open to the 
East, Northeast, and West, as far as he could distinguish 
from the mast head. His longitude was 8° East from 
the meridian of London. Captain Robinson is repre- 
sented as having been an intelligent seaman, and with 
the experience of twenty years in the Greenland seas, 
gives it as his opinion, that the cold North of Spitzber- 
gen, even in Winter, is by no means intolerable. See 
pages 17, 18, 19. In the year 1751, between the Spring 
and Fall fisheries, Capt. McCallam, an able seaman, de- 
termined to make an adventure towards the North pole, 
and accordingly did advance to 84°. The ocean was 
entirely unencumbered with ice. He^maintains that he 

might easily have gone North much farther, had it not 
been for the unnecessary fears of his mate, who entered 
his protest against his advancing in those remote, and 
perhaps, dangerous seas, especially as their business 
was fishing, and not d scovery — page 21. 

Many years ago, the Dutch were in the custom of 
sending a ship of war, to superintend and protect their 
Northern fisheries. On the authority of Dr. Campbell, 
the able continuator and revisor of Harris's Collection 
of Voyages, it is mentioned, that one of these vessels 
sailed North, in like manner, and with the same object 
of Captain McCallam, to the 8S° of North latitude, or 
within 2° of the pole, where the " weather was warm, 
the sea perfectly free from ice, and rolling like the Bay 
of Biscay." The Captain would have proceeded fur- 
ther, but for his fears of being censured in Holland, and 
charged with neglecting his station at Spitzbergen. 

For a long time after the Royal Society was instituted, 
it was customary for the Secretary to send questions to 
gentlemen residing in England, who had spent any time 
in distant countries. Nineteen questions were put to a 
Mr. Grey, who had remained some time in Greenland. 
The last question was : " How near any one hath been 
known to approach the North pole ?" Answer: " I 
once met, upon the coast of Greenland, a Hollander, 
who swore that he had been but half a degree from the 
pole, showing me his journal, which was also attested 
by his mate, when they had seen no ice, or land, but all 
water." You will firrd a complete history of this ac- 
count in Dr. Birch's History of the' Royal Society, 
vol. 1, p. 202. I am well aware that this account may 
not ordy be considered as extraordinary, but improbable 
and impossible. Of its probability I shall say nothing — 
the fact is stated, whether with the intention to deceive, 
or from incorrect observations, I know not,neither shall 
I stop to inquire. Of its possibility, I would say a word. 

Almost every voyage to those seas which abound with 
floating ice, proves the great difference between the 
quantities, as well as size, of those impediments to na- 
vigation, though in the same latitude, and in the same 
time of year. As illustration, when, Davis west on his 
two first voyages to discover the Northwest Passage* 
he was not enabled to go beyond latitude 66°, while in 
his third voyage he penetrated to 72° 12', with about 
the same difficulty. Around the great bank of New- 
foundland, and in the harbor of Louisburgh, the ice is 
at some seasons so packed in with the land, that ves- 


sels cannot sail beyond latitude 46°, while in other 
years Davis and Baffin have passed on nearly the same 
meridian, and in the same season, to latitude 70°. In* 
deed, there is nothing better established than the fre- 
quent changes and fluctuations of the field ice. A 
barrier, may be presented to-day of a hundred leagues 
in extent, and by the influence of winds and currents 
be removed in a few days or weeks, and afford a sate and 
easy passage to much higher latitudes. 

If, however, the ice found in the Spitzbergen seas, 
come from the North, of course, the ocean round the 
pole must be free from such encumbrance, after the ice 
has left it. I cannot perceive, therefore, any impossibi- 
lity attending a vessel in some favorable season, reach- 
ing even the above stated latitude. 

It is not very probable that the ice found in those 
seas, comes from the North pole. Mr. Grey, as is stated 
in Brick's History of the Royal Society, says the South- 
east winds always bring the greatest qui-ntity of ice to 
the coast of Spitzbergen, which is, indeed, highly pro- 
bable. These winds sweeping along the coast of Siberia 
and Tartary, in Asia, carry along the ice which has been 
formed in the bays and among numerous islands, as well 
as in the immense rivers of those countries. In either case, 
it would not appear impossible to reach those high lati- 
tudes, unless from the difficulty of penetrating the field 
ice, in the first instance, of which I shall speak in ano- 
ther place. 

There is an account in Harris's Collection of voyages, 
p. 396, given by Moxon, hydrographer to Char'es the 
Second, of a Dutch captain, who sailed beyond the 90° 
and returned. The narrative is circumstantial and in- 

You will find in the Philosophical Transactions for the 
year 1675, and No. 118, the following allusion, and in- 
deed acknowledgment, of a vessel having reached a 
very high latitude : " For it is well known to all that sail 
Northward, thac most of the Northern coasts are frozen 
up many leagues, though in the open sea it is not so, «o, 
nor under the pole itself , unless by accident." 

Captain Huston, who hai been engaged in the whale 
fishery for nearly forty years, frequently visited the Se- 
ven Islands, and the Straits of Waygat. In several of 
his voyages the sea was perfectly clear from ice to the 
North, as far as he could distinguish it with his best 
glasses. In one instance, he determined to make a 
bold attempt to reach the 90°, and maintains he would 


have accomplished his object, had the mutiny of the 
common sailors, from superstitious notions, not prevent- 
ed : they feared the attraction of the pole would pull 
all the nails out of the vessel, and leave them to perish ! 
—p. 55. 

In the same year and month Captain Gray was on the 
Western coast of Spitzbergen, and North latitude 79° 
35'. After remaining in this bay for several days, pro- 
ceeded North with an easy sail, for four days, expect- 
ing to meet with fields of ice, to which they might make 
fast ; but they did not so much as encounter a piece 
that flouted, 

Mr. Adams, a gentleman of science, who was after- 
wards the Principal of an Academy atWaltham Abbey, 
in Essex, was on board, and made accurate observa- 
tions, and found the latitude to be 83° North. The Cap- 
tain, Mate, and Mr. Adams, went to the foretop-mast- 
head, from whence they saw a sea as free from ice as 
any part of the Atlantic Ocean, and they all concurred 
in opinion, that had they been on a voyage of disco- 
very, they might have advanced to a very high latitude, 
if not to the pole it-elf — p. 56. 

Jonathan Wheatly, master of a Greenland ship, found 
an open sea, at lat, 81° 30, and says he saw Dutch 
Captains who had been much farther North — p. 58. 

Hans Derick, in the German employ, reached latitude 
86° North*, with five vessels in company ; they expe- 
rienced iittie or no impediments from the floating ice — 
p. 60. 

All the Greenland Captains agree, that the wind 
blowing a strong gale for any time from the North, 
opens the fiela ice. Such would hardly be the case if 
the field ice covered the whole Northern ocean. 

Among other papers read before the R. Society, on 
the subject of the North Pole, was a letter from Samuel 
Standridge, dated Hull, March 4th, 1774. It contains 
in substance, that, having made an easy fortune in com- 
merce, and trade becoming dull, he determined to visit 
the Greenland seas, to ascertain what opportunity there 
might be for making or losing a fortune. Ii> April, he 
whs in latitude 72°, catching seals among great bodies 
of floating ice. 

After sailing through much loose ice, which is com- 
monly the case, about the 6th of M^y he arrived at lati- 
tude 80°, which is near what the Masters call a good 
fishing latitude. He found the farther North, the lest 
quantity of ice ; and from the inquiry he made both 


from the English and Dutch, which was very considera- 
ble, there was a great probability of ships going to the 
Pole, if not stopped by meeting land or rocks. It ap- 
peared to him, that the narrowest place in those seas, 
was betwixt Spitzbergen and the American coast, 
where the current is observed to come always from the 
North, which fills this narrow place with ice, but gene- 
rally loose and floating. Those from whom he inquired, 
informed him that the sea ivas abundantly clearer to the 
North ef Spitzbergen, " and the further North the clear- 
er**' This, he very justly concluded, went very strong- 
ly to prove a " wide ocean, and a great opening to the 
North" as the current comes from thence, that fills this 
passage as aforesaid. 

The Astronomer Royal handed the following narra- 
tive of Captain Stephens, to the Hon. D. Barrington. 
As it comes from the Astronomer Royal, I suppose you 
will regard it as very high authority : 

Captain S. was two years engaged in the Greenland 
fisheries- In his second voyage, his vessel, in company 
with a Dutch ship, were driven North by a Southerly 
wind, to latitude 84° 30', or within 5° 30' of the Pole. 
He did not find the cold excessive, met with but little 
ice, and the less the farther they went to the North- 
ward — p. 79. 

Such was the account given by Dr. Maskylene, and 
while we give him credit for his ingenious experiments 
on the base of the mountain Scheliallian, we must, for 
consistency's sake, give our full faith to this statement of 
a navigator going far to the North, and finding an open 
sea. " As to the North Pole, this may now be doubt- 
ed. " — Astronomer Royal against the Editor of the Ame- 
rican Quarterly, Greek against Greek. 

One of the most interesting articles on the North Po- 
lar Seas I have met with, may be found in the Encyclo- 
paedia Britannic a, vol. 6th, p. 214. It concludes in these 
words : 

"On the whole, then, we should say, that the proba- 
bility of an open sea towards the North Pole, rather 
predominates ; it is a theory which has been entertain- 
ed since the days of Dr. Hooke, and all the Greenland 
fishermen are impressed With this opinion." 

The Rev. Mr. Tooke. Chaplain to the factory at 
Petersburgh, has given several facts, which, if they can 
at all be relied on, go strongly to prove that the sea is 
open to the Pole. Mr. Tooke says he has been in- 
formed by persons who passed the Winter at Kola, in 


Lapland, that in the severest weather, whenever a 
Northerly wind blows, the cold diminishes instantly, 
and that, if it continues, it always brings on a thaw, as 
Jong as it lasts. Extraordinary as this account may ap- 
pear, it is, nevertheless, strengthened by Barrentz, who 
wintered on Nova Zembla, and by the Russians, on Ma- 
loy Brun. If my memory does not deceive me, Ross 
and Parry speak of the Northerly winds being very 
little, if any colder, than those from other points of the 
compass. The Northerly winds, therefore, cannot be 
supposed, in the coldest seasons of the year, to sweep 
over ten or twenty degrees of ice. 

Should we, for a moment, leave the path of experi- 
ence and observation, and reason from an abstract analy- 
is of the polar ice, the same conclusion may be legiti- 
mately drawn. The ice generally formed in the ocean 
is seldom more than six inches in thickness. It appears 
like partially melted snow, that has become hardened : 
is more easily broken into pieces, less transparent, and 
when melted, is found to be intermixed with salt. 

When the salt water is frozen around islands, in bays, 
in shallow water, and near the land, it is very different 
from that formed in fresh water. It is by no means so 
solid and transparent ; consists of thin lamina, or plates, 
between which the brine is deposited. If the ice be 
washed, the brine may be removed, and the ice be- 
come sweet ; if melted together, it is brackish to the 

Now the great body of the polar ice is not of this 
kind, but solid and transparent, and must have been 
formed in fresh water, or at least, less salt than the main 
ocean ; from all of which, I conclude, that if the ice is 
not formed in the mid oce^n, there is a time when the 
ocean is comparatively unincumbered with it, and that 
that time is late in the season, after the ice has melted ; 
or earlier in the Spring, before it becomes detached 
from the shore, from around islands, and in bays, and 
from thence thrown out into the main ocean, forming 
what is called islands of floating ice. 

Hence it is not a matter of astonishment, that ex- 
plorers have so often failed. They commence their 
voyage in the Spring ; encounter the field ice ; struggle 
with the rigor of nature all Summer, and go inti> Winter 
quarters at the very time, when, if they were distant 
from land, the ocean would be unincumbered with ice. 
The British navigators seeking a Northwest passage, 
were bound by their instructions to find it by scrutiniz 


injar the bays and coasts of the continent, and thus have 
been frequently stopped by the young ice, which begins 
to form near the shore, almost as soon as the heat of the 
Summer sun begins to decline. It is impossible, there- 
fore, that voyages thus conducted should be more suc- 
cessful than the preceding. I appeal to any practical 
seaman to say, what can be expected, even from the in- 
trepidity and daring adventure of a Parry, while con- 
tending with the impediments experienced by creeping 
around the indentations of the coast in the coldest part 
of the globe, or making way among numerous islands, 
each of which serves as a point of retardation, by af- 
fording the means of support and extension to the earli- 
est ice which forms. But, suppose Parry had found an 
impassable barrier sailing West,among numerous islands, 
what has that to do with the possibility or practicability 
of exploring the polar regions, by a bold adventure m 
the mid ocean, to be persevered in, even when the ice 
begins to form near the land ? 

Take the broad principles of nature, ever the same* 
xmder like circumstance?, for our guide. Observe a 
large river, the ice is compact, and firmly attached to 
the s^iore, long before it is frozen in the centre. In 
Baffinr's Bay,the Esquimaux go out in mid Winter.some 
twenty or thirty miles, and fish for seal over the edge of 
the ice ; so that a vessel might sail through the middle 
of that bay at any time before the ice has left the land. 
As proof of this, it is on authentic record, that the ice 
in a harbor in Hudson's bay, being broken up by an unu- 
sual swell, a vessel was driven out, and contrary to ex- 
pectation, passed through the Straits without any im- 
pediments, and arrived in England in the middle of 
Winter, while in May and in June following, the Straits 
was blocked up with floating ice. — Harrington. 

It is useless to multiply instances in which navigator* 
have reached high latitudes. You say that the polar seas 
are not open, and especially, that recent authority does 
not -warrant such a conclusion. Ancient authority is 
decidedly against you. Let us examine that which is 
more recent. You will find in Mr. Walsh's " National 
Gazette" of November 9tb, 1825, the following strong 
confirmation of what I have already stated : 

" We have much reason to believe, that there is no 
great extent of land approaching the North Pole. 
Whales that have been harpooned in the Greenland 
seas, have been found in the Pacific Ocean. They 
have been taken with stone lances sticking in their fat, 


(a kind of weapon used by no nation now known) both 
in the s?a of Spitsbergen and in Davis's Straits. The 
whalers uniformly agree in their statements relative to 
the diminution of ice beyond the eightieth degree of 
North latitude ; and as Mr. Scoresby is of the most 
respectable authority, I quote the following passage 
from him : « Our latitude, on those occasions, in the 
month of May, [1806] as decided from observations ta- 
ken with a sextant, bv myself and my father, was 86° 
50\ 81° 2°, and 80° i2' ; after which we sailed so far 
to the Northward, as made about 81° 30'.' Here Mr. 
S. could not have been repelled by ice, or he would 
have mentioned it. He does not assign any cause for 
returning. It is to be presumed that his fishing requir- 
ed his attendance. The Hon. James Barrington col- 
lected much valuable information on this head, which 
he read before the Royal Society," &c. he. In the pa- 
per containing the above extracts, you will find a 
very interesting article written on the J\orth West Pas* 
sage, by a gentleman of the first order of intelligence, 
to whose correction I would advise you to submit all 
future articles that may appear in the Quarterly, on the 
geography of the Poles. 

All the world knows, that Captain Ross, in the year 
1818, penetrated the icy circle, and put back, while 
there was an open sea, with every necessary encou- 
ragement to advance to the North and Northwest. It is 
just as well known, that Parry saw an open sea to the 
North, while he was steering West, on his second 
voyage. Franklin, in the year 1818, when North of 
Baffin's Bay, informs us in his Journal, that all the ice 
he met with, would not have impeded the progress of 
a long-boat. Despatches from the same hardy and 
daring spirit, only two years ago, North of the same 
Bay, dated Winter quarters, inform us, "that from an 
elevation of two hundred feet, and with the best glass, 
not a speck of ice to be seen in the Polar sea. The 
white Whale and Seal were seen in greater abun- 

So much for the past and recent evidence in favor of 
open seas about the Pole. 

I know the objections that may be urged against 
some of the accounts detailed. You may say they were 
not all men of science, and that they may have been 
deceived in the accuracy of their observations. This 
objection may be substantially true, and, at the same 
time, their evidence in favor of open seas, and the uni 


versaldimunitionofice beyond latitude 80°, not in the 
least impaired. It does not require an astronomer to 
know and to distinguish the difference between fields of 
floating ice, and an open ocean. And, without the 
least disrespect for you, I must say, that I would rather 
rely on the opinion and information given, by a man of 
plain, practical sense, who had been twenty or thirty 
years in those high latitudes,than on all the calculations 
and demonstrations you and I could make, at our desks, 
in a dozen years. 
In addition to all this, Harrington and Beaufoy, as well 
as Pinckerton, in his voyages, maintain that the cli- 
mate is not only milder, but the productions of nature 
more abundant at latitude 80°, North, than at 76°. Oa 
ibis point, as well as open seas, I shall introduce one 
more authority, in relation to the North Pole ; an autho- 
rity which, of itself, will put to blush the declarations 
you have made, as well as many an American citizen, 
that the Editor of an American Quarterly should have 
made it. I mean J. Barrow, F. R. S* and present Chief 
Clerk in the British Admiralty. In his " Voyages into 
the Polar Regions," I find the following : «• That the 
North Pole may be approached by sea, has been an opi- 
nion entertained both by experienced navigators, and 
by men eminent for their learning and science [ex. 
Ed. American Quarterly] that several ships have, at 
different times, been carried 3° or 4° beyond Spitsber- 
gen, and the usual limits of the whale fishery, is not 
merely a matter of opinion ; and if the Polar Sea be 
navigable to the height of 84°, there seems to be no 
other physical obstruction, than the intervention of 
land, to the practical navigation of that sea, to the 
North Pole itself ; as there is no reason to believe that 
the temperature of that point is lower in the Winter, 
while it is probably much higher in the Summer, than 
on the parallel of 80° ; as it is -well known that the la* 
titude of SO is generally not colder on the same meri- 
dian, and in many places much less severe, than that 
of 70° is in others. The Russians pass the Winter very 
well on Spitsbergen, but they had not ventured to Win- 
ter on Nova Zembla, many degrees to the Southward 
of it. Deer live and thrive in 80° latitude in Spitsber- 
gen, but cannot live in 75° in Nova Zeisbla."— Page 

Barrington says ' " Nova Zembla hath no soil; her- 
bage, or animals"; and yet, in Spitsbergen, in six de- 
grees higher latitude, there are all three ; and on the 


top of the mountains, in the most Northern part, men 
strip themselves to their shirts* from the warmth. The 
celebrated Mr. Beyle, from these and many other in- 
stances, rejected the long-received notion, that the 
Pole was the principle of cold." — Page 101, and 
Morden's Account of Spitsbergen, page 105. 

It is the invariable tradition of the Samoides and 
Tartars, who live beyond the Waygat, that the sea is 
open to the mouth of Nova Zembla, all the year ; and 
the most knowing people of Russia are of the same 
opinion. These authorities ought certainly to have 
more weight than simple conjectures. — Page 103. 

To the South, our information is limited to fewer 
facts. Little has been discovered in that hemisphere 
since the days of Cook : who, it is true, was notable to 
advance beyond 71°, 25' ; but this attempt was not 
made in the most favorable season of the year. The 
cold is known to commence nearer to the equator in the 
Southern than in the Northern hemisphere, 55° being 
quite as intense as 70° in Lapland. 

From this fact, the ancients took up the opinion, 
that the Southern Polar regions were composed of no- 
thing but impassable barriers of field and floating ice, 
which, of course, increased and became excessive In 
approaching the Pole. The philosophers and learned 
Reviewers adopted the same belief. And yet, who- 
ever will take the trouble to examine impartially their 
statements, weigh the contrariety of their opinions, and 
consider the singularity of their reasoning, will see, and 
be convinced how unsatisfactory their notions were, and 
how totally insufficient the subtle speculations and 
demonstrations of the human mind ever must he, in re- 
lation to matters of this kind, when altogether un- 
assisted by the lights of experience and of actual ob- 

An opinion hazarded, ten years ago, in favor of open 
seas to the South, beyond the. icy circle, would pro* 
bably have been regarded, and no doubt pronounced, 
by you, visionary and impracticable. Kecent facts show 
that such is the case. The London Reviewers admit 
it, and you follow very gracefully in the wake, and say, 
•* th- South Pole is differently circumstanced." 

You sre compelled, from the example of the transat- 
lantic Reviewers, to admit the account of the intrepid 
Weddeil, who has lately shown that the icy circle to 
the South, as well as vo the North, may be passed. To 
use his own words, " In latitude 74°, 25', South, hoi a 


speck of ice to be seen ; the mildness of every thing 
around us is such, that our situation might be envied, 
were it not for the well known fact, that we have to 
penetrate immense fields of ice, in returning to the 

This is a most intensely interesting and imposing 
fact, and well calculated to arouse the spirit of inquiry. 
Does not this fact, a navigator dreading the ice in put- 
ting back towards the equator, but describing easy and 
plain sailing towards the Pole, awaken new thoughts, 
and more clearly show the propriety of extending our 
researches into those remote regions of our globe ? In 
the words of Captain Parry, " who can tell what there 
is where man has never been ?" 

The experience and observations of Captain Wed* 
dell, led him to maintain the doctrine of a milder cli- 
mate about the Poles ; and that he believes there is an 
icy circle, may be very clearly inferred from the fol- 
lowing paragraph : •* The difficulties attendant on the 
navigation of the Antarctic sea, so far as I have seen, 
consist in having to pass through chains of ice islands, 
floating between latitude 60° and the Polar Circle. 
Within this portion of both hemispheres, probably, the 
principal ices will be met with." 

The above authorities which I have quoted from in 
favor of a milder temperament and open sea about the 
poles, is very powerfully sustained by the collateral 
evidence derived from natural history. The migration 
offish and animals of the arctic regions, is flatly denied ; 
you say " it is by far more reasonable and probable, that 
the fish find a Winter retreat, in the deep sea where 
the temperature is uniform and moderate." 

It is indeed very difficult to contend with a person 
who reasons as you do, denying a position, By saying 
something else is more probable or reasonable, and at 
the same time, not adducing a single fact, in support of 
your "probability." 

The history of the Northern regions is one of cu- 
rious inquiry, doubtless involved in some obscurity, 
and about which there is some contrariety in evi- 
dence. I regret that the limits of this communication 
will not allow me to enter into a full discussion of it. 
Such as 1 have time and space to give, you shall have. 
All whalers agree in their account of the immense ehoals 
of Jish, of various kinds, which appear to come down from 
the North in the Spring season of the year, progressing 
from the arctic regions towards the equator. The herring 


is well known to be a fish of passage. I do not say that 
they come from the interior, but trom beyond the icy 
circle. At any rate they set out from high latitudes, in 
vast colonies, and their number exceeds the power of 
the imagination to conceive. 

As they begin their course to the South, they sepa- 
rate into two great divisions ; one body moves to the 
West, and pours down the continent of America, as far 
South as the Carolinas. When they are first caught on 
the coast of Labrador or Newfoundland, they are in 
their finest and best condition ; but, as they progress 
further South, became unfit for the market. 

The other division takes a more Easterly direction, to- 
wards Europe, and falls in with the coast of Iceland 
about March. 

Upon their arrival at that coast, their phalanx, which 
must have suffered much, by the indiscriminate attacks 
made upon it, by the sunfish, cacholot, porpoise, gram- 
pus, whaie, &c. is nevertheless found to be many hun- 
dred miles in extent, or in the words of some authors, 
* larger in extent than the Island of Great Britain and 
Ireland united." 

That those shoals ever return North again is certainly 
a matter of great doubt ; I know of no author that says 
they do ; it is known they become very poor towards 
mid-summer, and millions of them die, and render many 
parts of our coasts offensive by floating on the shore. 
The young herring are found in great numbers in many 
,piaces in low latitudes. I know of no direct evidence, 
that they go North to complete their growth, and pre- 
pare for the market. It is probable, however, they do ; 
and yet, one could hardly suppose they goto the bottom 
of the sea, where the temperature " is more uniform," 
or huddle round ice bergs, in the rigorous climate of the 
" icy beltt* which Weddell informs us extends from the 
60° to the polar circles. 

The German navigators, who, at various periods, have 
been detained in ice, say the ocean is almost desti- 
tute offish in the Winter, which goes very strongly to 
prove that the migratory fish do not winter on this 
side or amongst the ice. Where then do they come 
from ? 

Basking shark are migratory from the arctic seas. 
They frequent the coast of Norway, Orkney Isles, and 
the West coast of Wales, some time in June, and at the 
end of July return again to the North. 

In open seasons the vessels engaged in the whale 


fisheries, generally find a passage through which they 
*hoot forward along the coast of Spitsbergen, to latitude 
79° or 80°, where the whale are most abundant. The 
chase of whale seldom lasts more than two months in 
the year, commencing at the close of April, and termi- 
nating with the month of June, when these vast monsters 
of the deep disappear. Where do they go ? That they 
do not come South is within the knowledge of every in- 
telligent individual. 

Do you suppose they retire " into the deep sea, where 
the temperature is more uniform and moderate." How 
can this be (to equal you in authority) since Dr. Mitchill 
says a -whale is not ajish ? There is some philosophy in 
the doctor's remarks. A whale is constituted with lungs, 
and breathes as an ox, and cannot remain under water 
more than 20 or 30 minutes. So that in this the accu- 
racy of your knowledge is only equalled by your physi- 
cal demonstrations, where you attempt to show that a 
man, by the use of a lady's/an, might fly from one place 
to another, on the interior of a hollow sphere, consti- 
tuted with polar openings. 

In latitude 73°, in Baffin's Bay, Parry informs us that 
the number of whale was astonishing; that not less than 
50 were seen in the course of a single watch. He con- 
sidered it as a strong indication of an opening from Baf- 
fin's Bay into some sea still farther to the North, into 
which the whales were going, in consequence of being 
pursued by the fishermen in the lower seas. Page 58, 
Voyage of the year 1818, 1819,written by Fisher. On the 
2d of August, when still further to the North,and at lon- 
gitude 80°, 30, West, the number of whales was still 
greater, spouting in shoals like porpoises, many of them 
appeared yeung, at least of a small size — page 66. Vast 
number of beluga or white whale, were seen, the same 
which M'Kenzie, Hearne, and Franklin describe in the 
open polar seas. B&rrington (page 50) says, "if the ice ex- 
tends from North latitude 80°, 30', to the pole, all the 
intermediate space is denied to the Spitsbergen whales, 
as well, perhaps, as to other fish. The whales which re- 
quire so much room will be confined to two or three 
degrees of latitude in the neighborhood of Spitsbergen;" 
and yet the Germans inform us that these seas .>re desti- 
tute of/Js/tand -whale* in the Winter. Where then shall 
we look for their Winter retreats, if not beyond the icy 
circle ? 

* See Pinkerton's Voyages. 


In relation to land animals, our information may not 
be so well defined ; few travellers having been North 
by land, compared with the many who have been in 
high latitudes by sea. Hearne, however, has given us 
much useful and interesting information. His opportu- 
nity has been very good to do so, having remained ma- 
ny years North of Hudson's Bay. He states that large 
droves of musk oxen abound within the polar circle, few 
of which are ever seen so far South as the Hudson's Bay 
factories. That the Winter retreat of the white bear ap- 
pear to be unknown. Page 357, 368. The white arc- 
t\c foxes come down from the North, in incredible num- 
bers, and that there is much conjecture as to the place 
where they originate — page 364, 365. Hearne also in- 
forms us, that swans, geese, brants, ducks, and other 
wild water-fowl, are so' numerous about Hudson's Bay, 
in the Spring and Summer, that the company every 
season" salt up vast quantities of them, sometimes 60 
or 70 hogsheads — page 442. 

He enumerates ten different species of geese, several 
of which (particularly the snow geese, blue geese, brent 
geese and horned wavey,) raise their young in some 
country unknown even to the Indians — pages 442, 43, 
44, 45, 46. Their eggs and young are never seen by 
them.neither have the most accurate observers been able 
to discover where they make their Winter residence, as 
it is well known that they do not migrate to the South- 
ward ; but few of them ever pass South, and some of 
the species are said never to have been seen South of 
latitude fifty-nine degrees — page 445. 

Most of those fowls moult or shed their feathers in a 
peculiar manner, in the Summer, and become nearly 
naked. Hence it would seem, the time of their incu- 
bation must be in Winter, while absent, as it would not 
probably be while moulting ; whereas, the migratory 
geese and ducks of this country are not known to shed 
their feathers in any great degree ; and are all well 
known to raise their young in the Summer,while North. 
It may, therefore, be inferred, that many of those water 
fowl, which Hearne describes, raise their young beyond 
the icy circle. As many of the ten species of geese he 
saw there, are unknown further South, it establishes the 
fact, that they do not come South to winter. 

The cold Winter of 1709 is within the recollection of 
every reader of history. Birds and beasts were found 
dead in the fields, sentinels were frozen at their posts, 
and men perished, in every part of Europe, The olive 


plantations in the Southern part of France were nearly 
all destroyed, the Mediterranean was frozen over about 
Geneva, and the orange groves suffered in the finest 
parts of Italy. It was during this Winter that swans 
and various other water fowl migrated farther North 
than they had ever before been seen, where they found 
the sea unincumbered wilh ice, while all was solid and 
compact to the South. See Pontotidam's Natural His- 
tory of Norway. Also, the History of Greenland, b/ the 
Moravian Missionary Crantz, p. 45. 

In Rees' Cyclopedic, article Reindeer, I find the fol- 
lowing: "The reindeer are found in the neighbor- 
hood of Hudson's Bay, in most amazing numbers ; co- 
lumns of eight or ten thousand are seen annually passing 
from North to South, in the month of March or April, 
driven out of the ivoodaby the musketoes, (diiven out of 
the woods from the North,) seeking refreshment on the 
shore. In the Autumn, the deer, with their fa-urns, re- 
migrate Northward again. 

The Indians, also, kill great numbers of them during 
the season of migration, watching in their canoes, and 
spearing them, while passing over the rivers of their 
country, or from Island to Island." 

In the article Hudson's Bay it is stated "The reindeer 
pass in vast herds towards the North, in October, seek- 
ing the extreme of cold." 

Hudson's Bay is between North latitude 60° and 65°, 
From which it appears they start North *' to seek the 
woods," Now let us see what Parry says: " On the 25th 
October, (1818) at lat. 74° 30* and long. 110° W. all 
the deer set off to the West and N. W. when pursued, 
and even when not molested are observed to be travel- 
ling in that direction," p. 146-47. In latitude 75° speak- 
ing of the soil he says, " The soil of this land is much 
superior to any we have yet seen in those regions; along 
the shore, indeed, and for a little distance inland, it 
consists only of fine sand, but beyond this the surface 
is covered with a black mould, which, in a temperate 
climate, I have no doubt, would be very productive : for 
even here, in the valleys and the places where there is 
any moisture, it produces grass of a considerable length, 
and finest moss in abundance." Speaking of the musk 
ox he observes, " Although we have not yet seen many 
of these animals, it is very evident that this land must be 
frequented, if not constantly inhabited by them in great 
numbers; for their bones and horns are found scattered 
abo*t in all directions," p. 109. 


It is true, the reindeer remain in Lapland during the 
Winter, and this they may very readily do, finding shel- 
ter and sustenance in the thick forests and productions 
of the country. You speak very correctly, that the buffa- 
loes Franklin saw, retire to the woods in the Winter : 
and that " Michel" should propose to Franklin, a jour- 
ney to the West or Northwest, with the view of find- 
ing 1 deer, in the woods, is just what any other Indian 
would have done. But why expect forests in that di- 
rection, since we have generally been taught to regard 
that as the point where vegetation is destroyed by the 
intensity of the climate 1 
I am strengthened in my opinion that the Winter retreat 
of these animals is still a matter of curious conjecture, 
and not too well understood, from the remarks of Com- 
modore Phipps. on the natural history of Spitsbergen : 
" But the most wonderful thing of all is, how the deer 
can survive an eight months* famine. They feed upon 
nothing that can be perceived,but the vegetables which 
the earth spontaneously produces, and yet for eight 
months in the year the earth produces neither plant, 
shrub, nor blade of grass of any kind whatsoever. They 
are besides but thinly clad for such a climate, and what 
seems still worse, there is no woods to shelter them, 
within the distance that man has yet discovered. The 
means of their subsistence must remain, therefore, 
among the secrets of nature, never to be disclosed, as 
no human being can ever live here so as to trace these 
creatures to their Winter residence." 

Trace these creatures to their winter residences ; 
from which it would seem, the Commodore supposes 
they leave the Island, but where they go, is the great 
secret. Malte Brun, in his account of the same Island 
has this remark : "another animal, the amiable and tim- 
id reindeer, browses the moss with which all the rocks 
are covered ; but as soon as the polar day is over, these 
animals return across the unknown countries to Asia or 

Now, that they do not come to the continent of Amer- 
ica, would seem pretty evident, from the immense dis- 
tance; and that they do not migrate Southeast to Asia, 
I would conclude from the fact, that the rein-deer in Si- 
beria, from latitude 70°, migrate North and Northeast, 
in the month of Oct. and return in the Spring. At least 
such is the fact, if the testimony of Professor Adams, of 
St. Petersburg!), can be relied on: in other matters he 
is regarded as good authority. You will find it among 


the l*ransactions t and in the number containing the ac- 
count of the large animal taken oat of the Siberian ice, 
by the Professor, and under the direction of Alexander, 
late Emperor of Russia. 

An author, on the Russian discoveries, makes use of 
the following arguments, drawn from Natural History, 
in favor of the Island Alaksu being united to the conti- 
nent of America. " River otters, wolves, bears, and 
wild hogs, which were observed upon the island, will, 
perhaps, be thought to afford strong presumptions in 
favor of a neighboring continent : Martins were also 
caught there, an animal -which is not known in the Eastern 
part of Siberia, nor found upon any of the other islands ; 
also, reindeer and idld dogs. To these proofs from Na- 
tural History, we must add, the reports of a mountain- 
ous countty covered with forests," &c. 

The late Russian discoveries, and especially those of 
Baron Wrangle, show conclusively, that the continents 
of America and Asia are not united. The above argu- 
ments, therefore, prove, if they prove any thing, that 
the island Alaksu is connected with, or lying near to, 
some more extensive region of country, extending on to 
the North, East of the Fox and Aluthian islands, ** cov- 
ered with forests," and the boundaries of which are not 
yet known. (Coxe's* Russian Discoveries, pp. 23*2,233.) 

Again, there were Indians, whom Hearne, in his Jour- 
nal, calls strangers. They lived far to the Northwest, 
travelled a year in that direction, and agreeably to their 
account, there was no end to the country. In this, we 
must make due allowances for the limited knowledge 
of natives in the distance and course of countries, though 
in both, they have sometimes shown great sagacity. 
On the 11th of Jan. as some of the Indians belonging 
to Hearne's party, were engaged in hunting, they ob- 
served the tract of a single snow shoe, and tracing it 
came to a little hut, containing a lonely female. She 
appeared to be one of the natives who lived far to the 
Northwest, and had been taken prisoner, together 
with her party, by the Athapusco Indians, and was the 
only one of her party, who had not fallen a victim to 
their inhumanity. She had eloped from them with a 

* William Coxe, A. M. F. R. S. one of the senior fellows 
of King's College, Cambridge^ Member of the Imperial ./Eco- 
nomical Society at St. Petersburgh, of the Royal Academy of 
Sciences, at Copenhagen, and Chaplain to his Grace the 
Duke of Mabxbokough — I suppose you will readily admit, he 
has titles enough, in all ednfccieuce, to make his authority good 


■view of returning to her own tribe, but the distance 
was so great she had lost the track, and had therefore 
made a little hut, and supported herself by snaring rab- 
bits, for " seven moons" without seeing a human being. 

The rigid philosopher, who regards nothing as cer- 
tain, except squared by a mathematical calculus, may 
not consider this fact as very imposing ; neither do I. It 
is not intended as demonstration. I am willing to let it 
pass without comment, for just what it is; a fact which 
would go to show a chain and continuation of human 
beings, residing on to the Northwest. 

This appears to be a proper place to notice your re- 
marks on the Arctic Highlanders. In the year 1818, 
Captain Ross, when North of Baffin's Bay, in latitude 
75° 55', met with natives, hitherto unknown to civilized 
man, and of whom, in substance, he gives the following 

When Sacheuse, the Esquimaux interpreter, inquired 
from whence they came, they pointed to the North, 
where they said there were great many people, by their 
figurative expresBion, more than pieces of ice in the 
sea around the ships. They would not believe Ross 
when he informed them that he came from a contrary 
direction,, pointing £outh, because, say they, "there is 
nothing but ice there." Beyond the land to the North, 
" much water there," open sea. " They seemed most 
happy and contented, their clothing was in good condi- 
tion, and very suitable to the climate, and by their ac- 
count, they had plenty of provisions. They had a king, 
whom they called Tulootvah, his residence was near an 
island," which Ross supposes must have been Wolsten- 
holm, but did wot ascertain the fact. He is represented 
as living in a house built of stone, as large as a ship; 
•'great many houses and people there •" that he was a 
strong^ and good man} they gave him a portion of all 
tfhey caught, " and returned to this place, when the 
sun went away, with the fruit of their labors." — p. 134. 

I shall never forget the grave and dignified tone in 
which j ou respond to this evidence in favor of the con- 
tinuation of human beings and open seas North. 

" Now it happens that this mysterious country, was 
but a short distance from the places where the inter- 
view occurred ; that it was soon after visited by Capt. 
Ross ; and that he describes the nature of the country, 
their mode of living, dress, religion, and the very lati- 
tude and longitude." That I might not do you injus- 
tice, you see I have quoted your own words. What 


continent shall I make on them i It will net do to say the 
Editor of the American Quarterly is unacquainted with 
the facts upon which he comments, and still worse to 
suppose he misunderstood them ; and yet one of these 
two is most certainly true ! 

Let any reader, of the most ordinary sagacity, exam- 
ine Ross's voy a ges,and he will most unquestionably and 
unequivocally find, that the whole number of natives 
seen was eighteen ; that they were merely on a fishing 
excursion ; that their habitations, seen from the ships, 
were on'y temporary, and that they returned North 
" with the fruit of their labor, when the same went 
away." Every fact which Captain Ross acquired, in 
relation to their country, manners, customs, religion, dress, 
&c. was got, not as you say, by visiting toeir habitations, 
for that he never did, but derived exclusively from the 
eighteen that visited his ship?. Had you examined more 
than the index to Ross's voyage, or read further than 
the mere caption of chapter 7th, where these facts are 
given, you would have found the following in page 135, 
and w- ich must be decisive of the point at issue, viz : 
that Ross never examined or visited the regular resi- 
dence of these natives. These are his words: "We 
had not an opportunity of visiting the habitations of the 
Arctic Highlanders.'* After acquiring, through an in- 
terpreter, the facts, as detailed, of their manners, cus- 
toms, religion, &c. , be continues — "Such is the sub- 
stance of what we collected, in our short intercourse 
with this interesting People, which may appear to be 
defective ; but it must be recollected that the ships 
were always in motion, principally from the state of the 
weather, which rendered it impossible to send parties 
on shore after the first day. We still had daily hopes of 
obtaining a more complete access to them, even to the 
last moment, -when ive -were obliged to leave this part of the 
coast ,- and proceeding Northward from our last station, 
had still the prospect of visiting the King, and filling 
up the measure of our i; formation respecting them. 
These hopes were ultimately disappointed, as will appear 
from the events of the ensuing chapter." So much for 
the Arctic Highlanders. Further comment is not ne- 
cessary ; and the fact, that Ross met with natives North 
of BafTii *s Bay, who resided further North than has yet 
been explored on that meridian, and that they would 
not believe that he came from the South, stands unim- 
paired, let the inference drawn from it be what it may ! 
. To this I may add, that the extent of Greenland to 


the North west, has evaded the persevering researches of 
the Danish Missionaries. All that is known, is, that the 
Greenlanders, after passing a strait, have communicated 
with tribes of their own race, North of Baffin's Bay — see 
the highest authority in physical and historical Geogra- 
phy, Malte Brun, book 64, p. 46. 

I shall conclude this communication with a few re- 
marks on the phenomenon of drift wood, in the Polar 
seas, which, as there is nothing new with you, you may 
dispose of and account for at your leisure. 

On the currents flowing from the North, between 
Spitsbergen and the continent of America, large trees 
have frequently been found at latitude 80°, whereas, no 
timber is known to grow above latitude 70°. Every 
season, vast quantities of this floating timber is lodged 
on the coast of Norway, some of a tropical kind, and 
seeds evidently tropical in so recent a state as to germi- 
nate and grow. What makes the matter more aston- 
ishing, is, that these things appear to come by currents 
flowing from the North, whereas, according to your 
doctrine, these regions are covered with perpetual ice. 
It is believed, that these tropical seeds could not come 
from the Gulf stream, as that current loses itself in the 
great expanse of the Atlantic ocean long before it could 
be thrown into so high a latitude as to come South by- 
currents flowing by Spitsbergen. Again : the Southeast 
currents, from Hudson's Bay and Davis's^Straits would 
be likely to intercept its course to the North. The 
current from Hudson's Bay across to Europe, appears to 
be proven, from one of Capt Parry's experiments. It 
was customary with Parry to throw a bottle over board 
every day, with their latitude, and other observations 
sealed in it. One of them was found in the Bay of Kit- 
la bra, in Ireland, after floating 10,080 miles, at the rate 
of three miles per day. 

If this current be regular across t'ne Atlan* c,the course 
of the Gulf stream must necessarily be intercepted. The 
Europeans who reside in, or rather visit Greenland, as 
well as the inhabitants of that country, depend exclu- 
sively on drift wood for fuel, as well as every other use 
they make of timber. Among this wood are great trees 
torn up by the roots, which, being in the water a long 
time, rubbing and dashing against the ice, are quite 
bare of branches and bark,and corroded withworm holes, 
which proves it must once have been in milder climes. 
There is some green, with buds on it. The greatest 
part of this drift is pine and fir. There is also a good 


deal of a species of wood finely veiRed, and with f < w 
branches. There is also a solid reddish wood, of more 
agreeable fragrancy than the common fir, with visible 
cross veins ; it is supposed to be of the same species as 
the beautiful silver-fir, or zerbils. Crantz,in his history 
of Greenland, says : " It is plain this drift wood Comes 
out of a cold but fruitful and mountainous country, bu 
it is difficult to determine where that country is.'* D© 
you say it comes from Terra Labrador ; how can this be. 
since it comes with the currents, and beats on that 
coast? Do you consider Canada the origin of this timber; 
I ask you why the ash, oak, and other species of tim- 
ber, which grows in Canada, is not found with it, which 
is not the case. This drift wood is found in great abun- 
dance in Iceland. 

Let us, ihen* pursue this subject still further, and see 
if its origin can be derived from Siberia in Asia. The 
Russian vessel which set out in the year 1Y3S-, by Im- 
perial order, from the river Lena, to Kamschatka, in 
search of a N. E. passage, met with immense quantities 
of this umber in their Winter quarters; the shores were 
covered with it, which floated there from other coun- 
tries. The shores between the rivers Gennesse and Ob 
were lined with it. The freshest lies close to the shore, 
and further on the land lie dry and rotten trunks, which 
clearly establishes the fact that this timber comes from 
some other than the interior of that country. 

On Kamschatka great quantities of the same drift 
wood is found, where there is no fir growing; but, as 
the inhabitants report, comes from countries unknown 
to them. See Miller's collection of Russian Transactions, 
vol. 3d, p. 60. That I have not attached an importance 
or thrown a mystery over this subject, that does not be- 
long to it, will be admitted from the following 1 remarks 
of the sagacious Malte Brun: ,s But the wood that is 
denied to the Icelanders by the earth is brought to them 
by the ocean. The immense quantities of pines, and firs, 
and other trees which are thrown upon the Northern 
parts of Iceland* is one of the most astonishing- phenomena 
in nature. The masses of floating wood thrown upon 
the Island of John T>e Mayen, often equals the whole 
of this Island in extent"— book 77, p. 105. If yon say 
a part of this drift may be carried by the current putting 
North through Behring's Straits, into the polar basin, 
and from thence brought down upon these islands ; this 
will subvert your own position, and establish the one I 
have been laboring to maintain— the free and unobstruct- 

ed navigation of the polar sea?, after the icy circle has 
once been passed. Without indulging- in any visionary 
or theoretical speculations, what an extensive and in- 
teresting field is here opened for the contemplation of 
the philosopher and the naturalist! How very different 
from any thing the reader would be led to suppose, by 
the perusal of your article. In that he looks in vain for 
one liberal, one redeeming sentiment. If destined to 
preside over the republic of letters, to exercise an influ- 
ence in forming the taste and directing the sentiments 
and thoughts of the community, how well it would be- 
come you to encourage the spirit of enterprise and ad- 
venture, and all the noble workings of genius of your 
own countrymen. In this I do not mean that you should 
tolerate visionary speculation, or admit without a gallant 
struggle any thing new in philosophy. The history of 
Reviewers will not allow me to indulge in any such ex- 
pectation. They stand like watch dogs, on. the Hill of 
Science, and snarl and bark at every votary, who has the 
hardihood to go one step beyond the beaten track. But 
no sooner is a new path, in any department of science 
successfully marked out, and received the sanction of 
public opinion, than you find certain great -writers, who, 
a short time before, had denounced, place themselves 
in, advance and in the most soothing and encouraging 
manner, beckon to the child of genius to come on. Hence 
your strictures on the New Theory lias occasioned no 
surprise — it is such a pretty target to shoot at, and upon 
which to display your extraordinary powers of demon- 
stration, that they might have been looked for. With me 
it is only a matter of regret that in your zeal to blow it 
sky high you should be led into a train of reasoning,which 
has an obvious tendency to retard the general progress of 
science and discovery. I appeal to any and every indivi- 
dual who has read your communication on this subject, 
if he can lay it down subscribing to your general conclu- 
sions,(not in relation to the Theory) of the settled and-well 
defined state of things about the Poles, and feel the least 
interest in any further attempts at discovery in those re- 
mote parts of our globe. It is to this general sentiment 
I would reply, rather than quibble about Theories and 
enter into the small business of discussing the size of 
the Esquimaux. It is, and has been, my object to show 
the reasonableness of an expedition to the Poles, and 
that there is a high probability of making interesting 
discoveries, independent of all visionary speculation. 


Had you admitted this, and stated a few other things 
a little differently from wha^ you have, these hasty re- 
marks, with the next and concluding number, had ne- 
ver been given to the public. . 

Very respectfully, I am, yours, &c. 


No. III. 

To the Editor of the American Quarterly Review. 

Sib : In page 237, of your Review, 1 find the follow- 
ing sentence ■ " The newspapers have teemed with es- 
says, circulars have been addressed to all the learned 
Societies in Europe and America, addresses and peti- 
tions have been presented to our National and State Le- 
gislatures, certificates of conviction and adhesion have 
been procured by men in high literary and political sta- 
tions, in favor of the theory.* 9 

By this gratuitous sentence, what an elevated station 
you have assumed, and with what complacency you can 
look down upon the busy, bustling, productive multi- 
tude below ! Newspapers editors, men in high literary 
and political stations, National and State Legislatures, 
are all to be enlightened, instructed, and corrected, by 
the fulminations of your luminous pen. 

Is it not, however, a little strange, that, while hun- 
dreds of the most intelligent citizens, legislators, edit- 
ors, and all, have simply thrown the weight of their in- 
fluence, and, in many instances, contributed their means, 
towards an expedition to extend and improve the bound- 
aries of human knowledge, strictly on the principles up. 
on whjch other nations have acted, you -hould pretend 
to have misunderstood the nature of their efforts, disre- 
gard their declarations and publications, and then at- 
tempt to demonstrate that they too are visionary ? In 
extenuation, it must be admitted the inducement to do 
so was very hard to be resisted. 

Your Quarterly is ta be republished in London and 
Paris ; and, besides convincing the literati of the Old 
World that Philadelphia " can boast of a greater fund 
of talent, erudition, and science, than any other Ameri- 
can City," you will stand forth in a most imposing 
and enviable attitude, as the mighty Jljax, the great cor- 
recting and redeeming genius of your country ! 

Now, sir, these things may do well enough when con- 
fined to a Gazette; but, when embodied in a regular 

. 55 

work, which will be read and preserved, if only for the 
sake of the versatility of talent displayed in the commu- 
nications contained in it, the case is very materially al- 
tered, and it becomes necessary that the facts should be 
stated as they are, and as they have been received and 
considered by the community. 

I might, with great justice, call on you for the evi- 
dence in favor of your declarations, but shall not do it. 
i will take the onus probandi on myself. I shall show, 
that although lectures have been and may again be de- 
livered on the figure of the Earth, and on the import- 
ance of exploring the polar regions, yet, so far as 1 am 
interested, it was not with the intention or expectation 
of making proselytes to any new doctrine, bit simply with 
the view of eliciting a spirit of enterprise, and ot acquir- 
ing the means of prosecuting a voyage strictly on na- 
tional and scientific principles : and that such is the on- 
ly light in which it has been regarded by editors, legis- 
lators, &c. You, therefore, stand alone, and hold all 
the honors in your own hands that are due your candor t 
either in this country, or beyond the waters. 

It then becomes necessary to inquire into the nature 
of the various essays which appeared at different times 
on this subject. The inquiry will be interesting at this 
time, not only to ascertain how well informed you have 
been, and how fairly you have represented the spirit of 
those essays, but that which is of far more importance, 
the expression it may afford of public sentiment, 
in relation to such an undertaking by the citizens 
of this country, at this time, under the direction, pro- 
tection, and aid, of the Navy Department, 

I shall confine myself to the essays which have appear- 
ed in relation to mv own labors. 1 he first was the in- 
telligent editor of the Scioto Gazette, Ohio. He main- 
tained, at some length, and with his usual ability, that, 
leaving all theories out of the question, the importance 
of an expedition to the Poles could not be doubted by 
any intelligent individual, and that there were, most 
certainly, to say the least, many unexplained phenome- 
na in those regions well deserving the serious inquiry of 
w*y enlightened nation. The editors in Zanesville and 
other parts of Ohio responded in the same liberal spirit. 
In Wheeling, Virginia, a most lively interest was taken 
in favor of an expedition. The editor said, the doctrine 
of spheres was imposing, but advocated the expedition 
strictly on scientific and national considerations. The 
remarks of the Wheeling editor were republished ia 


Washington, Pennsylvania, and the same sentiments 
concurred in. In Pittsburg", there was much published 
on the nature and condition of the polar regions. 

The abstract question of the figure of the Earth was 
discussed at some length, but all agreed that, so far as 
a voyage of discovery was the object to be decided on, 
it should receive the encouragement and hearty co-ope- 
ration of all the friends of science. 

The editor of the Mercury, present Mayor of the City, 
has given a liberal and persevering support in favor of 
such an undertaking. Essays have also appeared in 
the papers of Brownsville, Uniontown, Greensburgh, 
Bedford, Chambersburgh, Carlisle, Harrisburgh, Lancas- 
ter, York, and other places in the State, and all have 
been in favor of science and exploration. Now, sir, I 
venture the assertion you cannot find a paragragh in one, 
or from one of these papers, expressive of the " adhe- 
sion" of the editor or writer in full belief of the Earth 
being hollow. They were not called on to make any 
such declaration ; they heard a theory explained, as a 
head under which facts could be arranged ; and the on- 
ly conclusion urged was, the " utility of extending our 
researches into those regions, with the view to collect 
facts, alike regardless of old or new doctrines;" and, to 
this proposition, such an expression has been given, as 
would, on any political subject, be regarded as decisive 
of the sentiments of the community. 

Is positive testimony of this required ? Then, let the 
language of the editor of the Franklin Repository speak 
for itself: " Few can resist the reasoning in favor of 
extending scientific research to the South seas, and we 
are not a little pleased to see the liberal ground on 
which the contemplated expedition is put, not being 
connected with any favorite or specific doctrine, but for 
discovery, as connected with matters of science and 
commerce. The undertaking from tins country is no-* 
vel, but not so from others. Many expeditions from Eng- 
land and other countries have been fitted out, aided by 
private subscriptions; and if they have not all been suc- 
cessful in making important discoveries, they have at 
least done something for the progressive stock of know- 
ledge, and of course deserve the thanks of the human 

The editors in the State of New Jersey, as far as I 
have been able to collect, have spoken but one lan- 
guage in relation to the expedition. 1 know of none 
who are proselytes to new doctrines t but the ablest of 


them have maintained that an expedition to the South 
Pole could scarcely fail in adding much to our present 
limited knowledge of* jthose regions, and to the honor 
of our country. 

In New York, I have seen the most liberal sentiments 
expressed, especially in Utica, Schenectady, Albany, 
and the City of New York,and yet you will not find in any- 
one of them an advocate of the New Theory. And why" 
you should have attempted to blend them together is 
to me a matter of astonishment ! Ever since an expe- 
dition has been spoken of, it has been advocated exclu- 
sively on those broad and liberal principles upon which 
the friends of science can all unite. 

The first public annunciation of the expedition wats 
from the Edito* of the New York Mirror, and. what does 
he say ? «• This will be no Utopian expedition. It fis not 
undertaken on the presumption of the truth of any defi- 
nite Theory, or supported, by its advocates alone. The 
plan is taken up upon liberal views, for the extension 
of geographical knowledge, and the benefit of mankind, 
and is untrammelled by the fetters of any bigoted doctrine. 
All intelligent and scientific persons agree that the Po- 
!ar Regions still offer an extensive field for enterprise 
and discovery ; and they cannot fail to look with inter* 
est and encouragement upon any attempts to penetrate 
the mysteries of those unknown regions of the glebe- 
A great many individuals of this kind, proselytes to no 
new doctrine, have, therefore, combined to give counte- 
nance and support to the projected expedition." 

There is an article, which appeared in the New York 
Advertiser, of the 6th ultimo, under the head of " Voy- 
ages and Travels," of more than ordinary merit. I do 
not recollect to have met, in any place, a communication 
embracing so much useful and interesting information ; 
I give an extract : 

" At a period when the principal nations of Europe are ex- 
emplifying their claims to that distinction by the most laudable 
means ; when, instead of rivalry in war, we see them cultivat- 
ing the arts of peace, and proving themselves worthy of the title 
of civilized and enlightened, by assiduously prosecuting inqui- 
ries likely to benefit mankind bv the improvement of science, 
we have thought that, to throw together, in a single point of 
view, a considerable mass of the floating intelligence upon one 
branch of pursuit, that of geographical information and im- 
provement, might be acceptable to tlie public. England, Ger- 
many, Russia, and France, are all distinguished for the activi- 
ty with which they have recently been, and are exerting them- 
selves to augment our information with respect to those parts 


"tf the globe which we inhabit, that are either altogether uo~ 
known to as, or very partially or imperfectly known. Surely 5 
next to the grand lesson, 'Know thyself,' the most obvious 
business of human beings, endowed with reasoning faculties, is 
to make themselves acquainted with their species throughout 
the earth, which is their inheritance, and with the various 
forms, productions, and phenomena, of the earth itself. Other- 
wise, we resemble persons who live in ancient edifices, and are 
content with the apartments in common use, without caring 
for suites of rooms, gaUeries, turrets, vaults, and other pi aces 
which surround them, and might be made to contribute great- 
ly to their comforts and enjoyments. Indeed, it seems to be a 
reproach to Europe, that, during the last five hundred years, 
though so much hns been done, so much has been left, undone, 
in this matter. Of the four quarters of the globe, it may be 
said that even Europe has several portions unvisited— and Asia 
immense regions • that Africa is little understood even on her 
coasts — and that of America on three sides, we are all but ig- 
norant. With the new quarter, (if it is so called,) Australia, 
we have still less familiarity ; and yet we direct our most earn- 
est attention to the sun, moon, and stars, in order to ascertain 
their courses, movements, climates, &c. &c, while so misera- 
bly defective in the intelligence respecting ourselves and our 
own planet. Let us hope that the spirit now abroad will, in 
good time, remove this cloud of darkness ; and that, as becomes 
an age which boasts of its skill, and science, and enlighten- 
ment, we may, ins'ead of hardly knowing one half, of our ball^ 
be able to give a tolerable account of the world on which we 
have our being." 

I might adduce a thousand facts to prove that the me« 
mortal presented to Congress during the past session, 
was never regarded by those who signed it, even at a 
distance, as in any respect connected with speculations 
about the figure of the earth. 

Noah,, in the New York Enquirer, speaks of this tnat- 
t v as follows: " We mentioned a few days since, the 
memorial (now in a course of signature at Baltimore) to 
Congress, for aid and authority towards prosecuting a 
voyage of science and discovery in the Polar seas. It 
may be well to refer to that petition again. The En- 
glish periodicals have expressed an opinion, that the dis- 
covery of a Northwest passage must he reserved for o«r 
country, should it be abandoned by Great Britain. And 
this opinion is certainly true. We have no jealousies 
on the subject; but still our pride and triumph would 
be inexpressibly great, if such an achievement * hould 
fall to the lot of this country. Hitherto we have con- 
tributed almost nothing to the science of maritime geo- 
graphy. The period has at length arrived, when the 
resources' and experience of our rulers enable them 'to 


enter upon new projects with greater certainty and 
more libera! means." 

In speaking on this subject, the Editors of the State 
of Delaware have been very explicit. The Statesman 
says, " the memorial has been signed by a large num- 
ber of the most respectable citizens of this place, and 
vicinity, who would give their hearty approbation, to 
an expedition of the kind suggested in the memorial.' 3 
The Gazette concludes an essay on the subject in 
these words : 

" The recollection, however, should be distinctly borne in 
mind, that the immediate object of his present pursuit is not 
to establish any particular theory ; bur. to induce an investiga- 
tion into matters of science, and to lead to a voysge of disco- 
very, with a view to a general advancement of knowledge, 
and the benefit of mankind ; without regard to the effect it 
may have in establishing former opinions, or in producing new 
ones. It is for this purpose that he is endeavoring to procure 
signatures to a memorial to Congress ; and it affords us plea- 
sure to say that the number and weight of ch&racter of the in- 
dividuals who have signed it in this place, is such as to show 
that the general sense of our citizens is decidedly in its favor." 
Inacard which I had the honor of addressing to the 
citizens of Baltimore, will be found the following plain 
exposition of the grounds upon which the expedition 
has unif rmly been placed : " It is essential to the suc- 
cess of the enterprise, that the principles on which it is 
founded, be distinctly known ; and I avail myself of 
this opportunity of again, repeating, that its object is to 
collect facts, without reference to the support of any 

I wiil select a few extracts from the Baltimore jour- 
nals, for ycur special instruction. 

" Whether the theory be true or not, the fact of its 
being either the one or the other, has nothing to do with 
ours, and what appears to us to be the object of Mr. 
R. We wish simply to promote an exploring expedi- 
tion to the South. That there are interesting disco- 
veries to be made in those seas, no one of sufficient in- 
telligence to form an opinion will deny." Again, "in 
addition to the liberal and appropriate contributions of 
nautical instruments, noticed yesterday, as having been 
offered for the use of the proposed expedition of dis- 
covery, another gentleman of this city has offered a 
first rate day and night telescope, and another gentle- 
man proffers a liberal contribution of ship-bread for the 
same service. These are all voluntary offerings to the 
c ause of science, and evince a spirit in our citizens both 


liberal and enlightened. Should Congress patronise 
such an expedition, we have no doubt the citizens of 
the United States would be well pleased. Of this, 
however, the formidable list of namesthat will accom- 
pany the memorial will afford the best testimony." 

How much theory can you make out of the following 
editorial remarks of the Baltimore Chronicle, of Sep- 
tember 27th ? " With the object of Mr. R's visit to 
the, seaboard, we confess we are pleased, and do hope 
he will find in bis Atlantic brethren, a patronage that 
will enable him to carry his enterprise into full and per- 
fect effect. The subject of an exploring expedition to 
the South, prosecuted by competent individuals, on sci- 
entific principles, must necessarily meet with the appro- 
bation of all who are friendl) to the cause of science. 
In other cities Mr. R. has been patronized by many dis- 
tinguished individuals, and comes before our citizens 
thus recommended to their notice," &c. 

It was about this time, some Editor, I believe in the 
city of Philadelphia, toot it into his head, as you have 
recently done, not to understand the nature of the con- 
templated expedition, and made some very witty re- 
marks about the doctrine of spheres being the true phi- 
losophy of nature, instead of solid globes, which elicit- 
ed from a Baltimore pap^r the following reply : " But 
why all this excitement ? Why do not editors state 
things as they are gven ? Has not Mr. R. said in print, 
in public, and in private, that his object was to ex- 
cite inquiry, and to elicit the patronage necessary to 
explore the South seas, unconnected and untrammelled 
with any bigoted doctrine or favorite theory ? We haye 
heard him repeut i * his lectures, ' no matter what the 
contrariety of opinion may be, concerning the abstract 
figure of the earth, there can scarcely be but one opin- 
ion on the importance of extending scientific research.* 
It was the presentation of these liberal views, that 
elicited tne few remarks we have made. It is in ac 
cordance with these views alone, Mr. R. soli cits the pa- 
tronage of the public. We have no doubt but Mr. R's 
highest expectations will be fully realized by his visit 
to our city. The liberality of his views does not require 
the question of the theory to be taken into considera- 
tion, by those who aid this laudable undertaking." 

I might go on to notice all t»at has been published on 
this subject, in Fredericktown, Hagerstown, and Anna- 
polis, in Maryland ; of the spirited and liberal expres- 
sion of the most Intelligent citizens in each of those 

places, but it is deemed unnecessary. In spirit it is pre- 
cisely the same as that which has been given above. 

In every part of Virginia, where the memorial has been 
presented, the same generous and ardent spirit has 
been evinced, and the memorial signed by such num- 
bers and such characters., as evidently to show, thaf 
the citizens of the old domain would not be the last in 
community, in throwing the weight of their influence, 
in favor of an undertaking, which has for its object, 
even in a remote bearing, the improvement of science* 
the interest and glory of our common country, and the 
benefit of the human race, by enlarging the boundaries 
of human knowledge. 

Of the encouragement given in this City and District, 
I need scarcely speak. The officers of Government 
and citizens have shown a liberal spirit, and were among 
the first on the list of patrons in favor of an expedition 
to be prosecuted on principles strictly national and 
scientific, as England s Russia, and France have done. 

The Potomac Chapter, with a liberality congenial with 
the leading principles of its institution, ordered a con- 
tribution from its funds, accompanying which was this 
appropriate expression: "The donation was made, with 
the view to further whatever rational efforts should be 
made by men of science, or the philanthropist, to ame- 
liorate the condition of the human race, and to aid in 
the general objects of a maritime expedition, uncon- 
nected with any theery whatever, respecting the figure 
of the Earth/' 

Such is a substantial, though very brief review of the 
interest manifestec'in this large portion of the commu- 
nity in favor of the present projected voyage of disco- 
very. That I have not colored, or set aught down in 
malice, 1 appeal to the Editors and citizens of every 
place, of whose encouragement I have made mention. 

It is not an appeal for protection. I feel able to de- 
fend myself against all -who are censurably misinformed, 
or improperly represent, as you appear to have done. 
I mean nothing harsh, but 1 do mean to be understood, 
and to call things by their names. A few individuals 
might be set down as visionary, but it is ridiculous in 
the extreme, to insinuate or suppose the thousands who 
have stood forward as the supporters and encouragers 
of a vovage of discovery from this country, and who 
have petitioned Congress to that effect; should at the 
same time be engaged in abstract and philosophical 
speculations and disquisitions about the figure of the 



The memorial has been published and republished 
in many places ; Legislatures have signed and sanction- 
ed it ; an4 Congress has referred the whole subject to 
the Secretary of the Navy, for his disposal, within his 
discretionary power. I give an extract from it : 

" The period of our national existence ha6 been only about 
fifty years — and the history of man shows no parallel of the 
progress we have made in population, improvement, and pow- 
er. From a small nation struggling for liberty, we have grown 
into a powerful one, capable of defending on the land or at 
sea, the blessings won by the war for independence. The 
American name is known and respected to the utmost verge 
of civilization — our eagle is a denizen of every clime — our 
sails are unfurled on every sea — our vessels are nailed in eve- 
ry foreign port as the harbingers of plenty — and the enter- 
prise and perseverance, courage and constancy of the Ameri- 
can People, are, if not unrivalled, at least not surpassed. 
What man can do, it is our character to feel able to attempt — 
What man has accomplished, the American feels that he is 
able to do— Whether it be to defend his liberties on the field 
of battle, to grapple with an enemy on the deep, or to pene- 
trate the burning line, and pursue his gigantic game within the 
iey circle, and with an ardor that insures success, where the 
People of other nations would fail, because of a waut of the 
same energy and zeal to excel. 

" The enlightened British nation have been extending their 
researches to the North by land and by water; the final result 
of neither is yet given to the world ;but if either should suc- 
ceed in presenting any thing interesting to science, the glory 
of the discovery will justly belong to the British nation. We 
would rival them in all that is great and good, and return light 
to them for light received, in whatever is useful to science and 
the arts — and, therefore, respectfully suggest, that, under the 
patronage of the United States, an expec.ition should be fitted 
out without delay, and prooeed to acquire a more perfect 
knowledge of the Northern parts of our own continent, or, 
if possible, to enter the more interesting and extensive field 
for enterprise, in the Southern hemisphere, and provided for 
the purpose, with hardy seamen, and scientific persons, bring 
home to us the result of their labors for the honor of our coun- 
try, and the benefit of mankind. It is believed, that Indivi- 
duals proper for such an expedition might easily be prevailed 
upon to undertake it, and that the expenditure of a small sum, 
for an object so interesting, wou!d meet with the approbation 
and support of the great body of the American People." 

In this memorial you cannot find a single expression, or 
even an obscure allusion to the theory of Capt. Symmes j 
there was none intended. It is, therefore, an unfortu- 
nate and too late an hour for your mystifications, anr; 
you will be more successful in attempting 

" To pluck bright honor from the pale faced moon.' - 


than to acquire fame by this new method of making war 
on community ; unless, indeed, it be a distinction of 
which few will be invidious— the distinction of being 1 
justly pitied. 

It would seem enough has now been said to place this 
matter in its true point of view, and to throw back, with 
leadened weight, the allegations you have made, on the 
sources from whence they emanated. 

The memorials presented to the State Legislatures only 
remain to be noticed. It is very true the memorial was 
presented to the General Assembly of the State of Ma- 
ryland ; and, in reference to it, Mr. Tyson introduced a 
preamble and resolutions, which passed, I believe, with 
but one or two dissenting votes : 

*' Whereas foreign nations have long turned their attention 
towards the acquirement of a more perfect knowledge of the 
geography of the earth, by means of voyages of discovery ; and 
by their exertions have not only acquired reputation, but ex- 
tended the weight of their influence, opened new channels for 
commercial enterprise, and benefited the human race by en- 
larging and improving the boundaries of knowledge : And 
whereas the Government of the United States lias attained a 
high standing among the nations of the earth, (the practical re- 
sult of the most stupendous, as well as successful experiment 
ever made in polities,) a population fast increasing, commercial 
relations and interest co-extensive with the civilized world, 
nautical skill, perseverance, and enterprise, if not unequalled, 
at least unsurpassed : And whereas, the sending out of one or 
two vessels on a voyage of discovery, would not be attended 
with any very heavy demands on the public treasury, and would 
seem to be in strict accordance with the character and liberal 
policy which ought to be pursued by a Government,whose poli- 
tical existence is in a great measure dependent on the general 
intelligence of her People : And whereas, a great number of 
the most enlightened citizens of different seotions of our coun- 
try, have memorialized the Senate and House of Representa- 
tives of the United States in Cougress assembled, and have set 
forth in their memorial — ' That, under the patronage of the 
United States, an expedition should befitted out without delay, 
and proceed to acquire a more correct knowledge of our own 
continent, or, if possible, to enter the more interesting and ex- 
tensive field for enterprise in the Southern Hemisphere • and, 
provided for the purpose, with hardy seamen and scientific 
persons, to bring home to us the result of their labors, for the 
honor of our country and the benefit of mankind.' And 
whereas, voyages of this kind, even when they fail in making 
important discoveries, bespeak a liberal policy, and give charac- 
ter to the people who undertake them. Therefore, 

Resolved by the General Assembly of the State of Mary* 
land, That we do highly approve of the views of the said m$~ 


rnorialists, believing that a polar expedition^ if properly cou- 
ducted, could scarcely fail in adding something to the general 
stock of national wealth and knowledge, and to the honor and 
glory of the United States." 

Is there any thing ambiguous in this resolution ; or, is 
it not a liberal declaration, in behalf of a science alike 
credible to the members, to the State, and to the na- 
tion r Is there any thing visionary in it ? Do you not 
suppose they were as well acquainted with their own in= 
tentionsj and the import of their own language, as you 
are f If they had intended this declaration as an ex- 
pression in matters of philosophy, do you suppose they 
had not independence enough to have said so ? If you 
do, you have yet much to learn of the Maryland cha- 

Mr. Tyson, in his remarks in favor of the immediate 
passage of the resolution, in the House of Delegates, 
said, ** I do not stand here as a philosopher, or a specu- 
latist, or the advocate of any theory whatever ; but as a 
legislator, bound to look upon all undertakings in the 
light of their probable effect upon the honor and inter- 
ests of my country. Who will say, that the polar expe- 
ditions, fitted out under the British Government, have 
not added to her glory-^though they have failed of the 
desired success. We should not only emulate her in 
this struggle of enterprise, but aim at surpassing her. 
We have surpassed her in the science of Government — 
we have beaten her on the ocean and on the land; we have 
conquered the conquerors of the conquerors of Europe; 
now let us surpass her in the field of discovery, the 
great regions yet open to nautical enterprise.the extreme 
North and South, where, if we fail, we fail with honor. 
Some gentlemen are deterred from voting for this 
resolution because they think the expression of the 
opinions of this Legislature will have little effect upon 
the decisions of Congress. 1 cannot think so meanly 
©f the judgment of this Legislature, as to suppose it un- 
worthy of a rational attention, nor can I have so poor a« 
opinion of the good sense and liberality of Congress, as 
to suppose they would look upon that judgment with 
indifference. If they should, however, we will, by the 
passage of this resolution, shew ourselves superior, in 
public spirit and general intelligence, to those who, 
being superior to us in authority and power, should be 
not inferior in those qualifications necessary to constitute 
a great and growing Nation." 

I will pursue the history of this subject further, and 
show that i^ has been viewed and acted on, in like (najv 


ner, by other Legislative bodies. The memorial was 
presented to the members of the Pennsylvania Legisla- 
ture, and was signed by them. This act, to one or two 
editors of your city, has been a fruitful theme for remark, 
on several occasions. " Saul was among the prophets." 
They appear to have considered the honor of the State 
as compromised, and brought their small shot to act in 
concert with the heavy guns of the Quarterly, to redeem 
it. Monstrous offence, that ond hundred members of 
the Legislature should so far have lost sight of the dig- 
nity of the State, so far detracted from the " talented city 
of Philadelphia," as to admit there were any new dis- 
coveries to be made,- and that they should suppose it 
would be honorable in this country to add something to 
the common stock of science, exactly on the same prin- 
ciple, and with the same motives, that England and 
other countries have done; and, worse than all, that 
they should have joined with their sister State, and with 
thousands of the most distinguished and intelligent citi- 
zens of the community, in simply recommending such 
an undertaking, to the consideration and patronage of 
Congress ; that they should have done all this, (and I 
challenge you to show that they have done more) ap- 
pears sufficient to call down the displeasure of the Edi* 
lor of the Quarterly, who, by this, it would seem, in- 
tends to bear down, with a heavy hand, upon all under- 
takings in which he is not consulted: to admit or reject 
with the same inflexibility of purpose, and much in the 
same manner, that is ascribed to Lady Hauton, in her 
supercilious rule of the "imperium in imperio" of 
Almacks. v. 

After all, what are the simple facts of the case ? A 
memorial was presented to the members of the Legis- 
lature, setting forth the propriety of an expedition, 
without attempting to establish any hypothesis, that the 
example of European Nations to further the cause of 
science might be followed ; that we might add some- 
thing to science, or, at least, show the will to contribute 
our share ; that, however young in years, as a Nation, 
we would not remain behind any other in zeal to im- 
prove and benefit the human r?ce. Such was the na- 
ture and import of the memorial, and as such, they 
promptly sustained it, and, thereby, shewing a liberali- 
ty of sentiment and zeal in the cause of general improve- 
ment, from which the Editor of the Quarterly might 
draw some instructive lessons. 

Had I room, and were it proper to introduce, in this 

place, the csncise address I had the honor of delivering 
before that Legislature, it would forever, with the can- 
did, show the principles upon which this whole matter 
has been uniformly conducted* 

Some of these remarks appear to have been taken 
down and published in the Pennsylvania Intelligencer. 
If an apology be necessary for inserting an extract here, 
let it be found in your article, which, unresisted, must 
have a tendency to paralyte the efforts now making, 
however humble, in the field of discovery, by placing 
it before the public eye in colors and dress of your 
own selection. 

" What is the nature of the memorial which I present 
for your sanction ? Does it call on you to legislate on 
matters of philosophy — to decide on the relative merits 
of conflicting doctrines? No: let these be left for 
schoolmen. You have a higher and mere important du- 
ty to perform. You are called on to throw the weight 
of your influence, not in favor of any special doctrine.but 
in favor of an attemp^on the part of the General Govern- 
ment to extend the boundaries of geographical know- 
ledge. It is proposed to send one or two vessels to ex- 
plore the immense and unknown regions surrounding the 
Southern pole, or to acquire a more perfect knowledge 
of the Northern parts of our own continent. In this 
proposition there is nothing concealed — no recommend- 
ing one thing, and meanirg another. There is nothing 
which has not been acted on by other Nations. 
It will be no Symmzonian expedition, though the 
truth or fallacy of his doctrines may possibly come within 
the scope of observation ; it will be one, in some de- 
gree, of National concern ; placed under the direction, 
and act under the instruction of the Navv Depart- 
ment, to which it properly belongs. It is on these 
broad and national views, that I place the conside- 
ration of this subject; it is on these alone I would 
act, were a nation's resources at my own dispo- 
sal ; it is on these principles alone you are called to 
act ; it is on these general and liberal principles hun- 
dreds of your fellow citizens, in various parts of the 
country, have acted, when signing the memorial which 
is now before a Committee in the House of Repre- 
sentatives of the United States. It was in accordance 
with these high and national considerations that the 
House of Delegates of your sister State of Maryland 
gave its decisive vote in favor of the undertaking. 
With such views, also, did the Chief Magistrate and 


Council of that State add their names to the memo- 
rial. Yes, and it has also been signed by the only hand 
•which death has not palsied, of the list of choice spi- 
rits, who pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sa- 
cred honor, in favor of our invaded rights and liberties — 
Charles Carroll, of Carrollton. He is still amongst us, 
like the proud Mausoleum of another age, scowling on 
the assaults of Time. The spirit of freedom hovers 
around him; he lives in the affections of ten millions of 
freemen. Yonder sun that has just set beneath theWest- 
ern horizon, that has rolled around the heavens,from the 
commencement of time, never saw their equal, not even 
when he looked down upon the immortal Greeks, and 
beheld them spurning the Persian yoke, and nobly de- 
fending themselves on the bloody plains of Marathon. 
But this is a digression — perhaps, the impulse of 
feeling. * 

It is quite unnecessary to say more on this part of 
your review. I should not have said so much had I 
been the only individual interested. Sufficient has 
been presented, to show conclusively, that the expe» 
dition is by no means predicated on other, than princi- 
ples upon which all the friends of science can unite. One 
conclusion, therefore, only, remains to be drawn. You 
have either been miserably misinformed, in part, on the 
subject upon which you have written, or, being inform- 
ed,"have not acted in regard to the light received. 
You are forced to one alternative, and may select be- 
tween them. 

In the House of Representatives, the proposed ex- 
pedition was regarded and treated in its proper light. 
Mr. Buchanan, the able and efficient member from the 
State of Pensylvania, introduced the memorials from 
his Slate, accompanied by a few remarks: " that he held 
in his hand a memorial signed by a number of individu- 
als, whose character in society, and whose sound judg- 
ment was not to be impeached, recommending an expe- 
dition, not in relation to theory., but for the purpose of 
discovery r in high Northern and Southern latitudes; 
and he hoped an expedition would be granted to ex- 
plore the seas which wash the polar regions." 

That the Select Committee, ,to whom the memorials 
were referred, regarded the subject in the same manner, 
will be seer, from the subjoined statement, which I had 
the honor of submitting to them : 

Gentlemen .■ I beg leave,suecinctly, to state the case now be- 
fore you as a Select Committee, in relation to a voyage of dis- 
covery. 1st. The memorial is most respectably sustained by 


a resolution of the State of Maryland, and by the Governor 
and Council. By the Governor of Pennsylvania, and by near 
one hundred members of the State Legislature. By the Go- 
vernor and other citizens of Ohio. You will also find memo- 
rials from the States of New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, 
Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, &c. of the most respectable char- 
acter. Presuming that the memorial, from the number and re- 
spectability of those who signed it, is deserving the most cour- 
teous consideration, I proceed, in the second place, to remark, 
that the objects of the memorialists will be promoted by ; sim- 
ple reference of the whole subject to the Secretary of the Na- 
vy, with a view, that, if an expedition be undertaken, in part, 
by individual means, it may receive the protection and aid of 
the Department, so far as is consistent with the general interest 
of the service, without increasing the expenses of it. The me- 
morialists wish a reference, for the following reasons : 

1st. The expeditions hitherto fitted out have not all return- 
ed, because it was impracticable to proceed further. 

2d. Those who have gone furthest have, in more than one 
instance, put back with an open sea before them. 

3d. The experience acquired by preceding attempts would 
enable an expedition to go to sea at this time, prepared to 
avoid manv of the obstacles heretofore encountered. 

4th. As far as explorers have yet gone North or South, hu- 
man inhabitants, land, and marine animals, have been found. 

5th. Our officers are brave and persevering, and our sea- 
men arnong ihe most hard- and auventurous on earth. 

6th. The history of maritime expeditions abundantly prove 
that successful adventure, in hi^h latitudes, depend rather up- 
on small, strong, and comfortable barks, with a well chosen 
and determined crew, than upon large vessels, with splendid 
and cosily outfits. 

7th. All these circumstances combined, justify us" in believ- 
ing, that an expedition, undertaken at this time, strictly 
with a view to the improvement of science, collect interesting 
facts in natural history, open new channels for commercial en- 
terprise in animal furs and oil, could scarcely fail in adding 
something to the stock of general knowledge, and to the honor 
and glory of the United States. 

8th. It is confidently believed that, with the protection of the 
Department, hundreds of the most distinguished citizens of 
our country will encourage the enterprise ; this, joined to the 
means already tangible, will give strength and character to the 

9th. To refuse a reference, is to discourage the spirit of en- 
terprise of our citizens. To refer it, is, perhaps, the most un- 
exceptionable method by which such adventures can be en- 
couraged, as it cannot interfere with the powers assumed or 
denied, as belonging to the General Government. 
JieepectfallyJam, yours, fce. 




"The Select Committee, to whom were referred the memo*- 
rials of sundry citizens of New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, 
Maryland, Virginia, and Ohio, proposing that, " under the 
patronage of the United States, an expedition should be fitted 
out to acquire a more perfect knowledge of the Northern part 
of our own Continent ; or, if possible, to enter the more inter- 
esting and extensive field for enterprise, in the Southern He- 
misphere," beg leave to Report — 

That, from the number and respectability of the memoria- 
lists, and the character of the proposed Expedition, the memo- 
rials are entitled to the most respectful consideration ; but, 
your Committee, waiving the discussion of any present advan- 
tage to be derived from a more " perfect knowledge of the 
Northern parts of our own Continent," or the utility or feasi- 
bility of making further discoveries in the Polar regions of the 
South, deem it inexpedient, at this time, to make an appro- 
priation of money to set on foot the expedition contemplated 
by the memorialists ; but they nevertheless, recommend, that 
the said memorials be referred to the Secretary of the Navy." 

This report was concurred in by the House. 

The memorials being- thus referred to the Secretary 
of the Navy, become a matter of record in that Depart- 
ment ; and I am at liberty to state, have received tke 
respecful consideration, to which the number and re- 
spectability of the petitioners are so justly entitled; and 
further, that so far as it relates to an expedition, on such 
principles as have been set forth in this number, and 
contemplated by the memorialists, the most cordial co 
operation and friendly feelings of the Secretary may be 
relied on ; that within his discretionary power, he wil! 
extend the aid and protection of the Department so far 
as is consistent ivith the general interests of the service* 
-without increasing the expenses of it. 

In this expedition there are no extravagant feelings 
or expectations entertained. Is is a plain practical com- 
mon sense undertaking, such as other nations and Pec- 
pie of other countries have encouraged and carried into 
full and perfect effect : one, which, though it may not 
strike out deeds of wonder, may nevertheless be the 
means of acquiring much useful information in the hy- 
drography and geography of the Antarctic regions ; as 
well as many important and interesting observations, on 
the atmospherical, magnetical, and electrical phenome- 
na, which cannot fail materially to advance the science of 
Meteorology ; and also in many valuable collections of 
objects in natural history, which inhabit a part of the 
globe, where few researches have yet been made in this 
branch of science ; especially concerning the Winter re a 


treats of these sea animals, which are peculiarly inter- 
esting as sources of commercial prosperity. 

The hunting- of the whale and seal, heretofore carri- 
ed on with so much vigor, has produced the natural 
and necessary consequence of rendering those animals 
more timid and fewer in number, by their destruction, 
without reference to season. 

This makes it extremely desirable that new situations 
should be explored, where these animals may be found 
in greater abundance, and procured with less uncer- 
tainty and risk. The result of the voyages, heretofore, 
show, conclusively, that the objects o* value to this 
branch of commercial enterprise, are to be found, with 
great facility, in the remote polar regions. 

In relation to Captain Parry's expedition, an able 
French writer makes these very judicious and liberal 
remarks : " Were the discoveries which Parry made, 
in relation to the obscure laws that govern the magnet, 
the only fruit of the English expeditions, they had not 
been undertaken in vain. But they have, besides, ex- 
panded the bounds of geographical knowledge,and add- 
ed greatly to the whale fisheries; and,above all,they have 
thrown a new splendor over the nautical glories of 
Great Britain, and enhanced the dignity and value of 
human nature. They have proven, that man, enlight- 
ened by the arts, is more than a match for the obsta- 
cles of nature, in her wildest ferocity." 

The Ssuthern seas present, by far, the most interest- 
ing and extensive field for inquiry, and scientific re- 

It is true, v/e find the whole surrounding coast of the 
North Polar Sea inhabited ; the European part with 
Laplanders and Fins ; the Asiatic shores with Ostiacks, 
Samoyedes,Tchustskies, and Koriacks, who derive their 
subsistence from rein deer and dried fish ; and the 
Northern shores of America, by the various tribes of the 
Esquimaux ; and it has yet to be determined how far 
human inhabitants, land, and marine animals extend to- 
wards the North Pole. 

In looking, however, upon a globe, it will be found, 
that, from 60° to 70° North, more than half its circumfe- 
rence is land. Such great extent of coast must necessa- 
rily furnish large quantities of ice, which is thrown out 
in the Spring, an d floated by the Northerly currents into 
the channel or sea between Spitsbergen and Greenland, 
choaking up this narrow part, and rendering a Northerly 
passage more difficult than to the South, where there 
is a great expans' of ocean, through which it is always 


more ?asy to pass the field ice ; and yet, if human testi- 
mony can be relied on, even the icy circle to the North 
may be passed. 

I will make all the allowances you can require, for 
the want of science, in the observations of those men, 
stated in the second communication, as having attained 
high latitudes. T&V e them, however, as a mass of evi- 
dence, joined with those which have been more recent 
and accurate, and do they not speak a language that 
can scarcely be misinterpreted. 

One can hardly suppose that so many men, at differ- 
ent periods of time, and entirely unknown to each oth- 
er, should have combined to deceive mankind : so that 
the universal diminution of ice North of latitude 80°, 
and of open seas about the poles, rest on the same kind 
of testimony,and on a chain of evidence by far more inter- 
esting and irresistible than a thousand other facts in 
history, now in the entire possession of the public con- 

The unexplored part of the Northern sea may be 
considered about twenty-four hundred miles across it, 
or seven thousand two hundred miles in circumference ; 
whereas, to the South, there are more than a million 
and a half of square miles, which have never been vi- 
sited by the footsteps of man. 

The circumnavigation of the Southern hemisphere 
will not bear an average of more than 57° South lati- 
tude ; hence, there may yet be many large islands un- 
discovered in that direction, which, indeed, is rendered 
very probable, from the quantity of field ice found in 
those seas. 

A navigator might sail North, from the equator, on a 
meridian between Europe and America, to latitude 60* 
or 70°, and return, believing there was no land North 
of the equator. In the same manner, the few advances 
South prove nothing against the existence of land in 
that direction; the three farthest of which, even to lati- 
tude 71° 10', 67°, and 67° 30', and two of these, on 
meridians 136° and 148° West, which still leaves about 
340° of longitude, in which the Antarctic circle has ne- 
ver been approached. To the above advances South, 
we may now add that of Weddell, who, a few years 
since, at latitude 74° 25', hailed an iceless ocean, and 
gave it, as his opinion, that the great body of ice would 
be met with from lat. 60° to the circle. 

If the icy barrier has been passed in one instance, it 
may be passed again ; if Englishmen have crossed it, 
Americans ** can try.'* 


All the world know our seamen are hardy and adven* 
turoHS; and especially, that those from the Eastern 
States, v/ho have been engaged in the whaling and 
sealing business, inured to cold, to hardship, and ice, 
would be inferior to none on earth for such a service. 
It has been justly said, by Burke, of England, many 
years ago, that the farthermost verge of the civilized 
world, was a mere stepping stone for them to go still 

It is not intended to run heedlessly and without due 
preparation into this undertaking. Such an expedition 
as this is not a party of pleasure, and the dangers, hard* 
ships, and privations of navigating the polar seas, must 
be provided for, by furnishing the vessels with many 
comforts. We hear much about the splendor and cost 
of British Expeditions, and no doubt, they are splendid 
and costly. Their vessels were from 350 to 450 tons 
burden ; furnished not only with the necessary conven- 
iences, but even with luxuries ; with printing appara- 
tus, for issuing a small paper on board, and with proper 
articles to keep up the London fashions in 7 masquerades, 
on the vessels. Plain Republicans can do very well 
without any such extra preparations ; and with two 
vessels of only 200 tons burden each ; with such little 
barks, well braced, made comfortable, and provisioned 
for at least two years, we would put oft, without making 
any more parade than old Nantucket's sons do, when 
they go a sealing : and, if we did not make such inter- 
esting discoveries as the British, might, at least, make a 
beginning, see whether American officers and seamen 
can stand frost as well as Englishmen ; and, perhaps 
plant some land marks, that may guide the future and 
more successful mariner. 

If the expedition should only succeed in throwing a 
harposn, catching a seal, or chasing a whale nearer the 
South Pole than any other Nation or People have done, 
it had not been undertaken in vain. But suppose, like 
Weddell, under some fortuitous circumstances, the icy 
circle should be passed, a few days press of sail would 
reach the 90°, where anchor might be cast on the axis of 
the earth, our eagle and star-spangled banner unfurled 
and planted, and left to wave on the very pole itself, 
where, amid the novelty, grandeur, and sublimity, of the 
scene, the two little vessels would turn once around in 
twenty-four hours. Such an achievement would add 
new lustre to the name of American philosophy, and 
new laurels to the hardy and daring enterprise of our 


seamen. To say nothing about probabilities, just such 
a result is certainly possible, even to the present pro- 
posed expedition ; and if so, where is the individual, so 
illiberal as to diseourage, though he may not approve, 
or rather, where is the individual in community, who 
has the means, and would not contribute something to- 
wards its accomplishment ? 

The British have long taken the lead, in maritime dis- 
covery ; the rivers, bays, promontories, and capes, of the 
North, bear the names of their Lords, their Dukes, and 
Admirals : Are there no discoveries to be made by 
Americans, that shall perpetuate the names and memo* 
ries of our own distinguished citizens, statesmen, patri- 
ots, sages, and heroes ? 

It is urged that such adventures should be underta- 
ken only by an act of Congress ? However desirable such 
an event might be, who will say that it is even probable ? 
To wait for such an event, it is believed, would be much 
like the man in the fable, who loitered on the banks of 
a river, waiting for the waters to flow by, that he might 
pass, not recollecting that the source from whence it em- 
anated, was inexhaustible. The constitutional powers 
of the General Government, to make a direct appropri- 
ation, is a point on which politicians are divided, and 
no resolution could pass, without a prolonged and a 
doubtful controversy. This expedition is free from 
such objections ; and is placed, perhaps, on the only 
principles that will be likely to succeed, at this time, or 
for many years. 

So fond are we of every thing European, and fre- 
quently so much disposed to follow exactly in their foot- 
steps, that some suppose nothing can ever again be 
done in the field of discovery, without the expensive 
equipages of a Ross and Parry. 1 own, vessels must 
be comfortable; but, it remains yet to be decided, 
how far such splendid and costly outfils, with the public 
hopes raised so high, will surpass those, with smaller 
vessels, fewer men, in behalf of which there is no na- 
tional character pledged,or high expectation entertained. 

Let the labors of a Hudson, a Davis, and a Baffin, 
speak in relation to this point. Let it be remembered 
that these men, in frail vessels, of only five and twenty 
tong, ill-provided, by intrepidity, perseverance,and skill, 
with the facility of managing small vessels among the 
ice, extended their researches nearly as far as the more 
recent adventurers have gone. Parry pays the highest 
tribute of respect to their memories, and to the fidelity 


and accuracy of their observations, even in the longi- 
tude. " I feel, (says he) the highest pride on the one 
band, approaching almost to humiliation on the other : 
of pride, in remembering it was our countrymen who 
performed these exploits ; of humiliation, when I con- 
sider how little, with all our advantages, we have suc- 
eeeded in going beyond them." 

To this expedition, some of the choicest spirits of the 
Navy have offered their services. Several gentlemen 
of science have presented their names as volunteers ; 
not mere pretenders, but men who are willing to go be- 
fore any Board, and be examined as to their qualifica- 
tions to fill a department in the scientific corps. A 
number of valuable instruments, the means for furnish- 
ing, provisioning, manning, and officering two ves- 
sels of two hundred tons each, for the term of two 
years ; besides a small part of the funds, towards pro- 
curing the use and refitting the vessels, are at this mo- 
ment in readiness. It is hoped, and confidently believed, 
that from the friends of science, the liberal, and the 
wealthy, the remaining and requisite amount can be 
raised. At any rate, every exertion can be made to 
effect it, and if successful, October next will be the 
time of setting sail. I have thus dwelt, in some degree, 
on particulars, that not only you, but the community, so 
far as it is interested, might not be misinformed. If 
there be any who do not approve of this undertaking ,and 
do not think proper to add their names to the list of pa- 
trons, it is at least hoped, they will find nothing in it re- 
quiring or deserving their opposition ; let its merits be 
judged of in their proper light, such as have been pre- 
sented in this number. 

Parry very justly says, " Such enterprises, so disinter- 
ested and useful in their objects, do honor to the coun- 
try which undertakes them, even when they fail ; they 
cannot but excite the admiration and respect of every 
liberal and cultivated mind, and the page of future his- 
tory will undoubtedly record them as every way wor- 
thy of a powerful, a virtuous, and an enlightened na- 

I must now take my leave of you, and it will be 
with great reluctance* if ever I resume my pen on this 
subject again. I have no objections to your writing as 
many reviews and criticisms as you please about the 
New Theory ; it has nothing more to do with this ex- 
pedition, than the variation of the needle, or any other 


unexplained phenomena ; but don*t block vp the Polar 
regions "with ice ! 

In the full flow of good feeling and good nature, I 
wish you a prosperous and pleasant Editorial career ; 
and, if it should so happen, two or three years from 
this time, that you sit down to write a review of a Jour- 
nal to the Southern Polar regions, it is hoped no re- 
membrances of the present controversy will cause other 
than the milk of human kindness to flow from your 
pen. Respectfully, I am yours, &c. 


Erratum. — In page 41, 1st paragraph, 3d line, for 
*' mouth of Nova Zembla," read, iATorth of Nova Zem- 


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